Sport Soccer

Sunday 21 September 2014

King: Keane to be given until last minute to prove fitness ahead of Kazakhstan clash

Damian Spellman

Published 13/10/2013 | 12:52

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Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane
Republic of Ireland interim manager Noel King
Republic of Ireland interim manager Noel King

Skipper Robbie Keane will be given until the last moment to prove his fitness ahead of the Republic of Ireland's final World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.

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The 33-year-old striker, who missed Friday's 3-0 Group C defeat in Germany with an ankle problem, was not expected to train today and will have to do so on Monday if he is to stand any chance of winning his 130th senior cap on Tuesday night at the Aviva Stadium.

Interim manager Noel King said: "Robbie is still recovering, hopefully. I don't know whether he will train (on Sunday) - I don't think he will - but hopefully (on Monday), he will do a full stint."

Asked if he expected Keane to be available for the game, King replied: "I am hoping he is fit for selection."

Celtic's Anthony Stokes played the lone striker role at the Rhein Energie Stadium in Cologne and on another night could have emerged with a hat-trick, and he would appear to be the leading candidate for the job once again if Keane did not make it.

King's resources were boosted following his squad's return from Germany when defenders Richard Dunne and John O'Shea, who were suspended for the first half of the double-header, joined up.

King said: "They are all good and looking forward to it. It's good to see them in and added to the squad.

"We will do a little bit of training (on Sunday) afternoon and we will see. There are a few tired legs, a few tired bodies, few tired minds, and there's a few anxious and fit-as-a-fiddle minds as well, so it's a combination of things we have to deal with."

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