Martin O’Neill has named his provisional 32-man squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, and already the forward options are looking much stronger.
A number of injuries and suspensions will see the Boys in Green down the bare bones (against Moldova at least), but the addition of Aston Villa’s Scott Hogan, as well as another call-up for Preston North End’s Sean Maguire and the surprise inclusion of Millwall’s Aiden O’Brien, will certainly add more firepower to the panel.
The former’s passport issues have been resolved and he is now free join the squad, and while he is yet to score in the Championship this season, he comes in with a growing reputation. Maguire, meanwhile, has hit the ground running at Deepdale with two goals, two assists and three man of the match awards in his first seven games. 23-year-old O’Brien has scored two goals in the Championship for his side thus far.
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) September 26, 2017
Elsewehere, Jeff Hendrick is back in the squad after missing the last two matches while James McCarthy, despite not having played for Everton at all this season, also finds his name on the list. Jonathan Walters, however, misses out.
Ireland enter into the final qualifiers against Moldova and Wales knowing that, realistically, only winning both will keep alive their diminishing hopes of sealing their place in next year’s World Cup in Russia. Failure to win either will pretty much guarantee that O’Neill’s side misses out.