Returning duo James McClean and Robbie Brady, as expected, go straight back into Martin O’Neill’s starting lineup for Monday night’s all-or-nothing clash against Wales in Cardiff.
With space needed to be created for the pair and Shane Long ruled out through injury, O’Neill was always going to shuffle the deck and make the starting eleven look that bit different from the one that defeated Moldova 2-0 in Dublin on Friday evening.
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) October 9, 2017
Daryl Murphy keeps his place in attack following his two-goal heroics on Friday, with O’Neill avoiding the temptation of throwing the relatively untested Sean Maguire or Scott Hogan into the deep end (though expect to see at least one of those two emerge from the bench at some point as Murphy tires).
Elsewhere there are few other surprises. Wes Hoolahan drops to the bench once again, as has tended to be the case for big away matches, while David Meyler staves off competition from Glenn Whelan to keep his place in the starting eleven. Harry Arter comes in for the Norwich City playmaker, while Callum O’Dowda also drops out.
With Scotland failing to beat Slovenia on Sunday night, the position for both of these sides could not be clearer – the inner is guaranteed a playoff place (with top spot even a possibility should Serbia somehow lose to Georgia in the group’s other big fixture.)