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Macedonia ace Pandev gets green light

MARCO Tardelli has marked Macedonian hitman Goran Pandev as the major threat to Ireland's Euro 2012 ambitions.

Tardelli has highlighted Inter Milan's Champions League final match-winner as the sharp end of an aggressive and physically strong Macedonian team.

"He's very dangerous, he is playing very well and is a very clever player. He is also very dangerous on set-pieces," said Tardelli.

Pandev is expected to shake off a foot injury he picked up during Inter's 1-0 win over Lecce on Sunday.

"He was injured for two months, but now he is fit - he played in the Champions League against Bayern Munich and he played very well," Tardelli said. "They have others like Popov who are very strong. We have studied everything."

However, Tardelli is hoping that Robbie Keane will make Pandev's abilities irrelevant after impressing everyone in training with his level of fitness and hunger to start against the Macedonians.

"We've found Robbie is fit. There has been a smile on his face and he is in good form. For me, Robbie can last the whole match and he can use the problems he has had this season as a great motivation," said Tardelli.

Giovanni Trapattoni sent Leon Best, one possible replacement for Keane, back to Newcastle yesterday and will watch injury doubts Damien Duff (Achilles), Sean St Ledger (knee), Darren Gibson (toe) and of course Richard Dunne (shoulder) closely for signs of progress.

The Macdonian squad have been training at their base in Ohrid - 200km from the capital Skopje - since Monday and were due to arrive in Dublin at 4pm today.