Ireland face into a crucial week of World Cup qualifiers, as Moldova come to town on Friday night before the crucial trip to Cardiff on Monday to take on Wales.
If this week goes well, the Boys in Green can begin to dream of a Russian summer once more, and Martin O’Neill will cement his place in history as only the second Irish manager to qualify for two consecutive tournaments.
Many would argue that the next two games could define the Derryman’s reign, but up until last month’s games against Georgia and Serbia, the two campaigns he had overseen had gone as well as could have been hoped for.
Roy Keane has been by his side the whole time, and what was initially branded as the ‘dream team’ has backed up much of the hype.
Speaking ahead of the Moldova game, O’Neill had plenty of praise for his assistant.
“Roy has been everything I expected of him when I chose him as the assistant manager. I didn’t pretend to know him that well – we had worked together on some programmes before that.
“But he is everything that I expected of him and more besides, an inspirational figure on the field, as he was, a hero to a lot of players who are in the squad at this moment and a big figure, not just for Irish football, but for world football.
“All of those things, he has continued to bring and I couldn’t ask any more of him.” Quotes via Irish Independent.
The players will need all the inspiration they can get from the duo ahead of the gargantuan qualifiers.