Saturday, September 4, 2010

Keane fitness boost for Republic

Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane was substituted late in Friday's 1-0 win over Armenia in Yerevan

Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane will be fit for Tuesday night's Euro 2012 qualifier against Andorra.

Keane was substituted late in the Republic's 1-0 win over Armenia but manager Giovanni Trapattoni said that the decision was precautionary.

"I gave him a little bit of a rest because he had, not an injury, but some pain," said Trapattoni.

Paul McShane has rejoined the squad after missing Friday's game in Armenia but Damien Duff remains out.

McShane was ruled out of the Yerevan trip by a hamstring injury while Duff is out of action because of a calf strain.

Keane, who has been struggling with a knee problem, was substituted shortly after Keith Fahey's winning goal in Yerevan.

Nickname Awaiting Moderation

Fahey's goal and overall contribution advanced his claims for a start against Andorra at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday but Giovanni Trapattoni may opt to retain Aiden McGeady on the left midfield flank.

McGeady was replaced by Fahey in Yerevan but Trapattoni has hinted that the Spartak Moscow player will start again.

"Aiden played very well and I changed him because it was the right time, not because of his performance," said Trapattoni.

"It was a new situation after we scored the goal. But I said before the game, if Aiden was injured, Keith could come in."

A more likely change may be Darron Gibson's inclusion in central midfield in place of Paul Green, who had a nervous competitive debut against the Armenians.

Trapattoni has warned his squad not to underestimate the group minnows who restricted Russia to a 2-0 win in Andorra on Friday evening.

"Sure, we are playing at home and everybody thinks we will win but we have to win, we must win over the 90 minutes against Andorra.

"In the last qualification, Andorra were last in the table, but last night France lost to Belarus and Italy were 1-0 down to Estonia at half-time.

The players have not had many games so far this season and there wasn't the balance in the team

Giovanni Trapattoni

"The world of football today is very, very difficult. Obviously, I think we can win, but we must win."

Trapattoni is a man who by nature, takes little for granted, and while he was happy to have returned from Yerevan with a victory, he was frank in his assessment of his team's performance.

He said: "I have had a little time to think about the game and talk about two or three negative situations and other positives.

"Sure, we did not play as well as we did against Algeria or in the second half against Argentina or against France or Italy, but the reasons are easy to see.

"The players have not had many games so far this season and there wasn't the balance in the team. Also, the weather for us was not ideal.

"But in this situation, the positives are more than the negatives, for example, the performance of Shay Given, and also Robbie Keane.

"Robbie had two very good chances and he hit the post with one of them, and I have seen the television replays and he could also have had a penalty, so we could have won by a bigger score."

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