Sean Maguire and Scott Hogan could be thrown straight in!
With Ireland heading into a crucial week of World Cup qualifiers, it has reached a stage of make or break. The Boys in Green made a thunderous start of Group D, but are yet to win a game in 2017 in what was a disappointing run of games, particularly the draw with Georgia and the home loss to Serbia.
The campaign ran out of momentum somewhat and may be in need of an injection of fresh talent. Martin O’Neill has called up Sean Maguire, Scott Hogan and Aidan O’Brien for the squad, but the Deryyman’s track record of giving international caps to players in competitive games is low.
However, there may be a break from the mould, particularly for Maguire or Hogan, as the options are short in the forwards. Jon Walters will miss the two ties. Meanwhile, Shane Long, who sat out training today, has been struggling for goals of late.
There may be a chance for Hogan who is beginning to find form with Aston Villa, or Maguire, who has carried his momentum from Cork City to Preston North End.
Roy Keane, speaking to the media today (via RTÉ), detailed the possibility of some of the new players making a breakthrough this week.
“We hope [that they can step up].
“We hope they get that opportunity. Obviously there’s other options.
“It might be harsh to throw them into an international match but we’ll see how they go over the next few days training.
“I’d expect one or two of them to be involved on Friday, certainly getting on the pitch at some stage.”
Ireland face Moldova on Friday night at the Aviva Stadium, before heading to Cardiff to face Wales on Monday evening.