GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI HAS named Conor Sammon in his starting XI to face Poland tomorrow night.
The 26-year-old Derby County striker will make his senior debut alongside Shane Long in a 4-4-2 formation, meaning Wes Hoolahan has to settle for a place on the bench.
Glenn Whelan partners James McCarthy while Robbie Brady and James McClean will operate on the wings. Further back, Greg Cunningham gets the nod at left full-back with Paul McShane on the opposite side and Ciaran Clark joining John O’Shea in the centre of defence.
33-year-old Millwall keeper David Fode, meanwhile, starts ahead of Kieran Westwood.
Asked if he only sees Norwich attacker Hoolahan as an impact sub, Trapattoni said: ”No no no, I could also start Wes tomorrow. We have four or five strikers, and we also have Doyle. We must not forget Doyle.
“Maybe I also tomorrow I could have [picked] Hendrick but I say always that James McCarthy must play because he must grow. We couldn’t change 11 in this friendly but the first thing is that the team grows and also the result. We need to improve the rankings. With good results, the players keep confidence and trust.
“Generally I am an optimist and positive but after these two days, I am extremely positive,” he added. I am very, very confident and I have faith about our performance and what we can do with this renewed team.
I said to them also that they have an opportunity because they are not only in this friendly game but they have an opportunity also to confirm their place in this squad, in this team.”
John O’Shea, who will captain the team, knows that although it is a friendly and the important games are a month away, getting a good result will do a lot to boost confidence in the camp.
“Without a doubt we want to get a positive result just to give everyone a lift but we know we face a very talented, tough Poland team,” O’Shea said. “They’re not going to give us anything easy and we have to make sure we perform well.
“If the new lads settle in and play very well, that will be the positive we take, but more importantly a positive performance should lead to a positive result. If training is anything to go by the last couple of days, I think we’ll get it.
“That’s where the experience of the manager comes in. He’ll be looking to get a positive result but also to give a chance to the lads who have worked hard the last couple of days in training, a bit of fresh blood.
“If the game’s 0-0, you mightn’t see as many changes as you want but fingers crossed if we got a lead, a couple of goals, fingers crossed the manager might be able to make more changes than he normally would. It all depends on how the develops.”
Ireland team v Poland: Forde, McShane, O’Shea, Clark, Cunningham, Brady, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Long, Sammon.