The Republic of Ireland team to play Georgia has been named.
Mick McCarthy has made three changes to the team that played out a 1-1 draw with Switzerland last month. Each change has been enforced by injury or suspension.
Enda Stevens is suspended, so Matt Doherty starts at left-back. Richard Keogh won’t play again until 2021, so John Egan partners Shane Duffy in central defence. David McGoldrick is injured, so James Collins starts upfront. Otherwise, it’s the same side that started against Switzerland.
Aaron Connolly, who scored twice against Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday, starts on the bench. The 19-year-old from Galway netted a brace against the Champions League runners-up but hasn’t been trusted to start against a team that sit below Syria, Belarus and Oman in the Fifa world rankings.
Here is the Ireland XI for the game:
If they are to reach Euro 2020 next summer and avoid a potential Nations League play-off, Ireland arguably need to beat Georgia on Saturday ahead of the trip to Switzerland on Tuesday. The match in Tbilisi is vital for their qualification hopes.
Georgia are ranked 91st in the world, but they are a side that have caused Ireland issues in the past. In September 2017, they held Martin O’Neill’s team to a 1-1 draw and were unfortunate not to win the tie. In 2014, Aidan McGeady scored a stunning last-minute goal to rescue three points from the game in Tbilisi.
Back in March, Ireland beat them 1-0 thanks to a free-kick goal from Conor Hourihane. Last month, Georgia held Denmark to a goalless draw in Tbilisi and have proven capable of causing an upset.
The match kicks-off at 2 pm Irish time.
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