Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland resume their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup later this month.
Ireland have taken ten points from a possible twelve in a strong start to their qualification campaign, but three points against Wales at the Aviva Stadium would put them in a commanding position at the halfway point of the group stage.
However, the Euro 2016 semi-finalists, with Gareth Bale in tow, will be desperate for the win after home draws against Serbia and Georgia have seen Chris Coleman’s side lose ground in the battle to qualify for Russia.
With a number of injury absentees, O’Neill has fewer options to choose from to face Wales (and Iceland in a friendly four days later). Shane Duffy recently underwent surgery on a broken metatarsal so misses out. Ciaran Clark, Richard Keogh and James McCarthy have all been drafted in despite being singled out as injury doubts.
Robbie Brady, despite being suspended for the Welsh match, has been included with the Iceland friendly in mind.
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) March 13, 2017
Recent Preston signings and former League of Ireland stars Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle retain their places in the panel, while many will be heartened by the sight of Brentford’s John Egan, Liam Kelly of Reading and Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane in the squad.
As this is a provisional squad, O’Neill is expected to trim as many as eight players from the list ahead of the first match in Dublin next week.