REPUBLIC of IRELAND boss Giovanni Trapattoni has received a welcome boost with the news that Keith Fahey and Marc Wilson are on the verge of returning to first-team action for their clubs.
Fahey has returned to Birmingham City after three months compassionate leave, while Wilson hopes to be involved with Stoke’s first team at the weekend, four months after breaking his leg.
Fahey has managed to keep himself in good shape and has been training with Shamrock Rovers over the last month.
Birmingham boss Lee Clark is delighted to have Fahey (30) back and believes he will be ready for first team action in a couple of weeks.
“It is great that Keith has now returned to the club,” he said.
“He underwent a full fitness assessment last week and I’m delighted to say that he is in great shape so, within a few weeks of being back in full training and some reserve team action, he should be ready to push his way back into consideration for first-team selection.”
Fahey thanked the club for their support and patience and is eager to get back in a Birmingham shirt.
“I want to thank the club for giving me the necessary time and support to deal with what was a genuinely personal family matter, I appreciate it greatly,” he said.
"Over the last few weeks I have been doing the equivalent of pre-season training with my local club Shamrock Rovers and I would like to thank that club’s manager, Trevor Croly, for allowing me to do so.
"While I need to achieve match fitness I believe I am close to being ready to return to Championship football. I now want to contribute fully to Blues' campaign for the remainder of the season.”
Meanwhile, Wilson is targeting a return to senior action with Stoke in this weekend's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham after four months out of action with a broken leg.
The versatile Republic of Ireland international has been sidelined since suffering the setback against Sunderland in October.
But Wilson is optimistic of being available for the Potters' trip to Craven Cottage if he comes through a third practice match this afternoon - against Scunthorpe - unscathed.
Wilson told Stoke's official website: "I am looking towards the Fulham game now as a possible return to action.
"I think the game today will benefit me, and then I have the rest of the week to get myself right for the weekend.
"I want to be back out on the pitch, because watching from the stands just isn't the same."
Wilson has not experienced any setbacks since his return to training at the end of January.
He said: "I've had a few weeks of training, and I've played in a few games now too.
"The good news is that I haven't felt any twinges. If anything, it is just general stiffness, which was to be expected."