McCue aiming to push on
Published 14/10/2013 | 15:31
Interim boss Harry McCue has challenged Ireland Under-21s to catapult themselves firmly into the race for European Championship qualification with victory over Romania.
Ireland recorded a satisfactory 0-0 draw with the Romanians in Piatra Neamt on Friday as they bounced back from a 4-0 home defeat by Group 6 favourites Germany in their previous game.
The Germans maintained their 100 per cent record with a 2-0 win over Montenegro the same day, and with the Montenegrins not in action again until next month, a win at the Showgrounds in Sligo would leave the Irish in second place in the group.
McCue said: "We are looking forward to it. The weather is fine and the pitch is perfect. We're looking to push on and get the upper hand on Romania in the group by winning.
"They went all out to beat us on Friday, but we had a huge spell when we were dominant and unfortunately we didn't score.
"Romania had a complete new batch of players under their new coach - they're technically very good and we expected that. They were definitely one of the best sides we have played recently.
"A draw away from home is good, but we have to finish it off by winning at home.
"We don't expect anything easy. This is Romania's last chance, but we really need a win which will bring us right into contention. There's a great incentive for all our lads. We feel we can win it.
"Next up for us is the Faroe Islands at home and Montenegro away next month, and we want a win against Romania to make them huge games for us."
McCue is in charge of the team with Noel King having been drafted in as senior manager for the World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Kazakhstan.
His resources have been boosted for Tuesday's game by the return of Samir Carruthers after suspension and Carl McHugh, who has re-joined the squad after being allowed link up with club Bradford.
Cork City's Danny Morrissey has also been added with Matt Doherty struggling due to groin and hip problems.
McCue said: "We are looking to score. Football-wise, our possession was good the other day and we were unlucky from set-pieces not to score.
"With Samir coming in, that will help too. We have players to freshen things up."