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Hunt on for Ireland call

READING STAR Noel Hunt hopes that his good form with the Royals can earn him a recall to the Ireland squad.

Hunt is enjoying a good spell in front of goal with Reading, scoring in the last three games.

Things have gone quiet on the Ireland front for Hunt recently, and he hasn't been involved with the national team since he started up front with Robbie Keane for the World Cup qualifier at home to Montenegro 18 months ago.

With Keane likely to miss the next qualifier -- at home to Macedonia -- Giovanni Trapattoni needs to look at his back-up strikers to find a partner for Kevin Doyle, and while Leon Best and Shane Long are currently the favourites, Hunt is desperate to at least get a place in the squad.

"We've got a lot of good players and a lot of good strikers; obviously I'd love to be back in the frame, but I'm just focussing on doing what I do and hopefully that will be enough to earn a recall," Hunt said.

"I love playing for my country, there's nothing better in my opinion.

"I'll keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully they will like what they see. If not I won't take it personally, I'll just do my best to make the next squad."


Hunt is enjoying a good partnership with compatriot Long this season, the duo scoring 23 league goals between them.

"My first game for Reading was in a cup game up front with Long and we ended up playing another couple of games together later on and it was clear we had a decent understanding with each other," he says.

"We work hard and try and help each other out and that's all you can ask of your team-mates. We both know that we can play well together and it was just a shame that we couldn't play together much last season. But now we are playing regularly and both scoring goals so it's going really well," added Hunt, as Reading try to bridge the six-point gap between them and the play-off places.

"Six points is just two wins over the teams ahead of us. We know what we are capable of; we did it last year and didn't quite make it.

"We'll keep fighting in the big games and although the weekend was a blip, we need to make sure we are winning games."

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has admitted his interest in Hunt, who played in Scotland with Dunfermline and Dundee United but the player was happy to remain at Reading. But the player said: "There was a lot of talk going on in January about that but I tried not to pay too much attention to it.

"Obviously Celtic are a big club, but I love it at Reading; I love the football we play and the way that the manager is going about things and the plans he has in place. It would take a lot to move me because of got a lot of time for Reading FC and I have a lot of friends here. The club and the fans have been great to me so I want to pay them back for that."