Friday 30 September 2016

Duffy likely to be given chance in Dublin games

Published 24/03/2016 | 02:30

O’Neill wants to give Duffy (pictured) an outing against either Switzerland tomorrow or Slovakia next Tuesday to demonstrate what he can offer. Photo: Sportsfile
O’Neill wants to give Duffy (pictured) an outing against either Switzerland tomorrow or Slovakia next Tuesday to demonstrate what he can offer. Photo: Sportsfile

Blackburn centre-half Shane Duffy will end his long wait for a second Ireland cap in the next five days.

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The Championship regular has impressed Martin O'Neill who feels he has progressed from his debut against Costa Rica on the tour of the USA in 2014, although he believes there are areas where the 24-year-old can improve.

O'Neill wants to give Duffy an outing against either Switzerland tomorrow or Slovakia next Tuesday to demonstrate what he can offer.

"He's definitely one that you would like to think is one for the future as some of the older players drop off," says O'Neill. "I would like to get him onto the field in some of these games.

"I've seen him a number of times, pretty much in close succession and I've known him for quite a while. He was with us on the American trip and I think he's improved since then. There are parts of the game that definitely need honing, there's no doubt about that but we'll see."

O'Neill added that Duffy's activity at Blackburn gives him an outside chance of making it to France although he is down the queue at the moment.

Alex Pearce is struggling to move up the centre-half pecking order after a frustrating year where he has made just five appearances. He joined Derby last summer but made just a pair of cup appearances before joining Bristol City on loan in January. But he has lined out just three times at his temporary home and hasn't played since February 23.

"It's been a learning experience," said Pearce yesterday, "Sometimes you have to bide your time, stay patient and got to be ready when you do get the chance." The 27-year-old has not discussed his Euros prospects with O'Neill and has no problems with being kept guessing.

"I'm not a fan of looking too far ahead as nobody has a crystal ball," he said. "In terms of looking towards the summer and who'll get in the squad, I don't think that's a good idea.

"Your job is to train hard and prepare your body."

Irish Independent

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