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Monday 5 December 2016

Captain Keane definitely out of play-off decider`

Independent.ie reporters

Published 10/10/2011 | 08:50

Seamus Coleman. Photo: Sportsfile
Giovanni Trapattoni in fine form during Ireland training at Malahide yesterday

CAPTAIN Robbie Keane has been ruled out of tomorrow’s do-or-die Euro 2012 qualifier against Armenia at the Aviva Stadium.

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The former Spurs and Liverpool striker had been rated extremely doubtful. He carried an injury into last Friday’s game against lowly Andorra.

A draw will secure a play-off spot for the Republic and a win would earn a play-off seeding.

In the absence of the LA Galaxy striker Keane, Kevin Doyle, Wolves, and Shane Long, West Brom, could be paired together up front.

Armenia, who Ireland beat in the first qualifier, have come from nowhere to challenge for a place in Poland-Ukraine next summer.

Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman has told Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni he is ready to play anywhere as the Euro 2012 campaign draws to a close.

Ireland face Armenia in Dublin tomorrow evening knowing a point will be enough to book them second place in Group B and a play-off berth.

Coleman watched Friday night's 2-0 victory in Andorra from the stands after not making the 18, but with Stephen Ward suspended after picking up a second yellow card at the Estadi Comunal and Kevin Kilbane injured, Trapattoni finds himself short of full-backs for a crucial game.

The 22-year-old, who is currently playing as a winger for Everton, has also lined up at the back and while it seems that John O'Shea and Stephen Kelly are more likely to get the nod, he would be happy to return to that role if required.

Asked if he believes the Italian sees him as a midfielder rather than a defender, he said: "I would say he probably does.

"That's where I have been playing for Everton last season and at the start of this season, so I would imagine that's where he sees me.

"But wherever he needs me, I would be more than happy to play.

"You have always got to have a bit of hope, but more than likely I would imagine it would be Stephen Kelly and John O'Shea.

"But I can't really complain there, there's a lot of Premier League experience there.

"But hopefully I will be involved in some way tomorrow because it's such a massive game for everyone."

Armenia have proved something of a surprise package in the group and have dragged themselves back into contention with successive victories over Andorra, Slovakia and Macedonia, the reward for an 11-goal blast.

Ireland launched their campaign with a 1-0 win in Yerevan in September last year, and while that was regarded as a good result then, it is looking a better one all the time.

Coleman said: "It's definitely a very tricky tie. They have improved massively in the last couple of games.

"It's a lot of goals to be scoring and the lads will be well aware of that, and obviously we will be trying to get a couple of goals ourselves."

However, the Republic's clean sheet in Andorra was their eighth in consecutive matches, and while they are taking nothing for granted, there is a general air of confidence about the camp despite the expected absence of skipper Robbie Keane through injury.

Coleman said: "Definitely - not over-confidence obviously, but we are quite confident.

"We have done quite well, kept a lot of clean sheets and if we can keep a clean sheet tomorrow, that will be enough.

"But we will be going out, hopefully, to win the game."

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