Saturday, October 2, 2010

Good and bad news for Trapattoni ahead of crucial Euro qualifiers

Less than six days before Ireland’s crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Russia, Richard Dunne has provided a welcome boost for manager Giovanni Trapattoni after playing the full 90 minutes for Aston Villa against Spurs today.

But there may well be concern among Trapattoni's management team over Damien Duff, who picked up an injury during Fulham’s 1-1 draw at West Ham. Duff limped off 20 minutes from time holding his left calf. The winger missed the wins over Armenia and Andorra last month with a calf injury.

Dunne, who missed the last two Villa matches with a knee injury, was restored to the heart of Villa’s defence but was unable to prevent his side losing 2-1 at White Hart Lane this afternoon.

Dunne was up against Roman Pavlyuchenko, who he is likely to face in Dublin next Friday, and was fortunate not to concede an early penalty when the Russian’s shot hit his hand, the referee deciding it was unintentional.

Marco Tardelli’s recce to the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke faced Blackburn, turned out to be a wasted trip.

The Irish midfield partnership of Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews had been due to go head-to-head but Andrews was an unused substitute while Whelan was only introduced in the 90th minute as Stoke won 1-0.

Elsewhere, Keith Fahey made a rare start for Birmingham against an Everton side with Seamus Coleman in their ranks. And it was the defender who will enjoy the bragging rights when the squad assembles in Malahide tomorrow night as the Toffees recorded their first win of the season, ending Birmingham’s 18-month home unbeaten run.

Kevin Doyle will have to wait for his first league goal of the season after Wolves were beaten 2-0 at Wigan. James McCarthy, overlooked by Trapattoni for the qualifying double-header, started for Wigan.

In the Championship, Keith Treacy opened the scoring for Preston against Reading but the Royals earned a point when Ian Harte's corner was only half cleared and Jem Karacan fired home. Liam Lawrence was also on the scoresheet, his late penalty enough to grab Portsmouth a point against Middlesbrough.

Darren O’Dea, who has already been ruled out of the Ireland squad, was in line to make a surprise appearance for Ipswich but suffered a recurrence of the knee injury he picked up during training with Ireland last month in the warm-up at Portman Road.

“Darren has been struggling with a knee problem since he went away with the last international squad,” explained Ipswich manager Roy Keane after the 2-1 win over Leeds. “We thought we’d take a chance but as soon as he went out for the warm-up he said he was struggling.”

Ireland, who top Group B with a maximum six points, meet Russia at the Aviva Stadium next Friday before facing Slovakia in Zilina the following Tuesday.

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