Trapattoni optimistic over walking wounded
Giovanni Trapattoni's walking wounded boarded the plane for Armenia this afternoon to hand the Republic of Ireland a boost.
Skipper Robbie Keane and defenders Richard Dunne and Darren O'Dea were among the party which jetted out to Yerevan as they battled against the injuries which have limited them in recent days.
Keane, who remained a Tottenham player when the transfer window closed last night despite weeks of speculation, was able to train at Malahide this morning without the knee brace he wore yesterday, although it will be a comfort to both he and Trapattoni he has a further 48 hours during which to recover further ahead of Friday night's opening Euro 2012 qualifier.
Dunne and O'Dea both sat out the session, the Aston Villa man with a muscle injury and his Ipswich counterpart with a sprained knee.
However, Trapattoni is hopeful Dunne could start at the Yerevan Republican Stadium, and O'Dea could yet make the bench.
He said: "I am optimistic. As a precaution, we left Richard and also Darren out of training, but I am optimistic because we have 48 hours.
"Richard, I am sure about, and also it possible Darren could be on the bench.
"Richard still has this knock in the muscle, but hopefully tomorrow, he will train with us."
The Republic headed out to Armenia with several key men, including keeper Shay Given and Keane, having played little football for their respective clubs so far this season.
However, that is something to which Trapattoni has had to become accustomed during his time in charge.
He said: "For the last two years, the question was the same. Many players - two, three, four players - do not play in their teams, but play with us and they play well for also 90 minutes.
"I am confident about this. The players have trained very well with the right mentality and enthusiasm and I am happy with the situation.
"I'm not afraid about them playing one hour or 30 minutes. I was young, and I played 90 minutes without training."
Ireland know exactly what to expect when they run out in front of a hostile crowd, and they are equally aware of what is at stake as they attempt to get their campaign off to a winning start.
Trapattoni said: "At home, they [Armenia] are hard, they make an impression.
"It's no excuse, but they can also provoke us. We must be calm and play with this mentality, like in the last campaign, where we went without suspensions.
"We need to understand the result is more important."