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Forde: 'I'm ready for duty'

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David Forde

David Forde

David Forde

DAVID FORDE has given Giovanni Trapattoni a boost ahead of Friday's vital World Cup qualifier at home to Sweden as the Millwall keeper insists that he's fit and ready for action.

Forde, who established himself as Ireland's No 1 since Keiren Westwood lost his place after the 6-1 loss to Germany last year and has been sidelined in recent weeks, was a major doubt for the World Cup double-header against Sweden and Austria when he suffered a knee injury on the opening day of the Championship season, against Yeovil Town.

That forced him to undergo surgery and initial reports suggested that he would be out for up to six weeks, which would have excluded him from international duty, but Forde says he's back to full fitness and is hoping to feature for Millwall – who are struggling in the bottom two in the Championship – today at Stephen Ward's Brighton.

That would be some good news for Trapattoni, who has through injury lost five players from his original 29-man squad, as yesterday it was announced that Paddy Madden, Aiden McGeady, Sean St Ledger and Joey O'Brien were all out of the squad due to knee injuries, while midfielder Jeff Hendrick withdrew from the squad earlier in the week with an ankle complaint.

DOUBT

But Forde has given himself the all clear to resume international action after he missed the 0-0 draw with Wales.

"I am fit and well and ready for duty," Forde told The Herald last night.

"I trained with the club all week, I am in the squad for the Brighton game and I hope to play, it's all gone according to plan and fingers crossed I can get a game in, report in for duty to Dublin on Sunday and have a good week's training ahead of the Sweden game.

"I always had it in my mind to get back for these international games. When you have surgery, there is always a doubt in your mind, you never know for certain how you'll recover and how the body will react.

"I was lucky in that I had the top surgeon in the country, Andy Williams, for the operation. I knew I was in good hands and would get the best possible care. He gave me a timeline, he said it could be four to six weeks, but I got back in a little under three weeks.

"It's been a good recovery, I am very happy with how things have gone. Now I just want to play today, prove I am fit, then come to Dublin and prove my fitness to the manager and the staff over there as I am desperate to play in the Sweden game on Friday," added Forde, who hopes to win his 11th senior cap against the Swedes on Friday.

Trapattoni last night trimmed down his provisional 29-man squad to a panel of 23 players, his task was made easier with the absence of the five injured men (Madden, Hendrick, McGeady, St Ledger and O'Brien).

The only man to miss out on the actual squad is Hull midfielder David Meyler, who is now on standby.

The Ireland boss, who will attend the West Ham-Stoke game today, will see how the rest of his squad fare with injuries over the weekend.

There were some positives from the midweek League Cup games. Anthony Pilkington made his first appearance of the season for Norwich and scored in their win, while Conor Sammon managed two goals for Derby County. There was also a welcome run-out for Simon Cox, for Nottingham Forest against Wigan.

VACANT

With McGeady definitely out of the Sweden and Austria games, there is a vacant slot on the wings. And while the uncapped Anthony Pilkington, Jonathan Walters, James McClean and Robbie Brady will all stake a claim, Trapattoni is a big fan of Cox in that wide role.

Forest boss Billy Davies was happy to see Cox get some game time in midweek and he could feature in their league game against Wigan today.

"The Millwall game was very important for Simon as he needed to get some minutes into his legs. He came through the game with no problems and that is excellent news for us," said Davies.


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