SHANE LONG CAN strengthen his claim for a place on the Euro 2012 plane when he partners Robbie Keane in attack against the Czech Republic tomorrow night.
Giovanni Trapattoni named his side for the first of the Republic of Ireland’s warm-up games this afternoon, making three changes from the side which lined up for the second leg against Estonia last November.
Long comes in up front for his 24th cap in place of Kevin Doyle, who failed to prove his fitness in time to challenge for a starting place.
The striker trained in Malahide this morning but has since been allowed to return to Wolves as has Birmingham midfielder Keith Fahey, who is also carrying a knock.
Darren O’Dea comes in at centre-half in place of the injured Richard Dunne, while Aiden McGeady has shrugged off his recent injury scare to replace Stephen Hunt on the wing.
McGeady injured his shin while in Spain with his club Spartak Moscow, but has since returned training ahead of the resumption of the Russian league following its winter break.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni at the Grand Hotel, Malahide today. Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer
The squad’s new faces, Sunderland winger James McClean and Everton’s Shane Duffy, will both make their international debuts at some point in the second half, Trapattoni said.
Republic of Ireland (vs Czech Republic): Given; O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward; Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady; Long, Keane.