Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ireland looking for three points against Russia

Andy Keogh has insisted that Ireland will go into their European Championship clash with Russia in expectation rather than hope.

Their credentials will be put to the tests over the next several days when they play Group favourites Russia in Dublin on Friday and their conquerors last time out, Slovakia, in Zilina next Tuesday.

However, Keogh insists the belief manager Giovanni Trapattoni has instilled in his players over the last two and a half years means they will approach the double-header confident they can emerge with two positive results rather than hoping they do.

He said: “It’s the mentality the manager has brought to the team. He has had the core of players now for a couple of years and he has drilled his tactics and his mentality into us.

“Coming to our home patch, we are going into the game looking to win and wanting to win.

“We are playing the two teams who are going to be up there with us competing to qualify, and the more points we can take from them, the better to try to open up a gap.

“If we continue the type of form we have had in the last two games, we should look good.

“It’s more of the same. We won the last two games, so you can’t complain about that, and there were some good performances as well.”

Keogh has played much of his recent football for Ireland as a midfield replacement, and he could well be needed to provide back-up once again with Damien Duff having withdrawn with a calf injury and Stephen Hunt yet to return to the squad.

But the 24-year-old, currently on loan at Cardiff from Wolves, knows whoever plays on Friday evening, the Irish will have to produce their best form to emerge with the result they desire.

He said: “They are very good. They will be very dangerous, especially on the counter-attack.

“But we will just concentrate on ourselves, try to keep the type of form we have had in the last two games and worry about us scoring and beating them.”

Trapattoni is almost certain to pair skipper Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle in attack once again.

Doyle has been in fine form for Wolves and has scored in two of his last four games for Ireland.

Keogh said: “From what I hear from the lads, Kevin has been playing very well week in, week out.

“Kevin is the type of player who can come in and do a great job for Ireland, as he does in every game he plays.”

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