Updated at 17.15
RICHARD DUNNE HAS been included in Ireland’s 29-man provisional squad to face Austria and Sweden next month.
The defender had been a doubt following recent struggles with injury, but has since proven his fitness playing for QPR in the Championship.
Trapattoni today said that he would assess the fitness of Dunne in training, before deciding if he was fit enough to start at international level.
The Italian says the defender is “in physically good form” and ”an important player” but emphasised that Ireland have plenty of options at the back, should Dunne not be deemed worthy of a starting spot.
The Ireland boss added that Joey O’Brien – a player who many had been calling to be more involved in the side – would “probably” make the final squad, describing how the player’s versatility at the back makes him an asset.
Kevin Doyle, however, was once again conspicuous by his absence, though Trapattoni suggested the Wolves player was still in his plans, but that he was currently content with the other strikers at his disposal.
Ireland face Sweden on September 6 at the Aviva Stadium and Austria on September 10 in the Ernst Happel Stadion, and Trapattoni was in an optimistic mood ahead of the games.
“We have reached the most important part of our qualifying campaign,” he said. “The team performed very well against both Sweden and Austria back in March. We will look to emulate both performances, and build towards producing two positive results.
“Sweden and Austria are two very strong teams, and the qualifying table proves this. However, I believe these players have the mentality, attitude and composure to work together and get the points we need in order to qualify. We will prepare for both games next week and focus on the task facing us.”
Ireland squad: Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O’Shea, O’Brien, St Ledger, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O’Dea, Clark, Dunne, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy,Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean,Brady, Meyler, Hoolahan, Long, Keane, Sammon, Walters, Madden, Cox.
Tickets for the Sweden game are now on sale and can be purchased here.