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Thursday 18 September 2014

Martin O'Neill to stick with tried and trusted for difficult opening to Euro 2016 qualifiers

Published 25/07/2014 | 14:38

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25 July 2014; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a press conference after the FAI Ford Cup Third Round Draw. Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a press conference after the FAI Ford Cup Third Round Draw. Mullingar Park Hotel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has his sights set on a number of new recruits but admits that for the difficult opening to the qualification for Euro 2016 he'll be sticking to what he knows.

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When the final whistle blows at Celtic Park on November 14, Ireland will have played four qualifiers including tricky away encounters against Scotland and Georgia and the daunting trip to Gelsenkirchen to play the World champions Germany.

Spurs duo Kyle Naughton and Harry Kane as well as pacy Norwich winger Nathan Redmond have been linked with the Irish set up but O'Neill suggested that further experimentation might have to wait until 2015.

"Over the course of the next 10 to 12 months, although we’ll have played quite a lot of games in that time, you’re hoping that maybe some of the young lads will come through, maybe from League of Ireland, you never know," he said ahead of the FAI Cup Third Round draw.

"But also, I presume, in Britain, lads that can take their place and be worthy of playing and actually be comfortable playing.

"That’s in the not too distant future I hope. Obviously with the games coming up I’ll probably be relying on a lot of the squad that I’ve had for the last number of weeks."

When asked about the possibility of bringing some new faces in, O'Neill said: "There are things that we’re looking at in the background," .

"I don't want to say, just in case these things don’t come to fruition but there are a number of avenues that I’m exploring.

"I know that it’s an old cliched phrase but it’s exactly right, I am. And there are a number of players who have declared more than an interest in joining us.

"But until everything is solved, resolved and signed up - if there's such a thing as that - I’d be reluctant to start mentioning a load of names."

Next up for Ireland is the friendly meeting with Oman on September 3 at the Aviva and O'Neill anticipates that he will use the game to give players who may be on the fringes of things at their clubs some football.

"It's getting very, very close," he added.

"The Oman game we organised as much to do with the fact that you never know, there might be one or two players we rely on who might not have played much club football.

"So we take that into the equation and it's a good thing to play a game as there is no friendly in August."

"Now with Roy going to Aston Villa and being able to keep an eye on a few things, young (Jack) Grealish in particular, as I think he played some part of the game the other evening - at least he was down to play - I will rely on something like that.

"But overall that will take place during the course of the season."

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