Irish team for Macedonia announced
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapottoni has announced the Ireland team to face Macedonia in tomorrow’s crunch Euro qualifier.
As rumoured, newcomer Simon Cox will start up front ahead of Shane Long and alongside veteran Robbie Keane.
But the record scorer will have to prove his fitness, with Long ready to take his places if needed.
The team is: Given, Kelly, O’Dea, O’Shea, Kilbane; McGeady, Whelan, Andrews, Hunt; Keane, Cox.
Keane is still fighting to prove his fitness. He received a hefty blow to his ankle in a training-ground clash with Damien Delaney ahead of the team's departure to Skopje yesterday afternoon.
Assistant Marco Tardelli, after consulting with Irish team medical staff, then reported that Ireland's record-breaking striker had suffered groin trouble during the session. However, it has been widely known that Keane has been suffering from Achilles trouble in recent weeks.
After arriving in the balmy Macedonian capital last night, the portents for the Irish captain appeared much more favourable.
"Robbie seems okay after the flight and will train tomorrow," reported an FAI spokesman.