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New deal fresh boost for Fahey

KEITH FAHEY has received a double boost ahead of a possible Ireland debut next week as Birmingham City have agreed a new contract with the Dubliner.

And former Scotland boss Alex McLeish has told Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni to have no fears about handing Fahey his international debut next week.

McLeish says that the €350,000 deal to bring Fahey from St Pats to St Andrews was one of the best pieces of business he has ever done on the transfer market, as Fahey delivered 40 first-team appearances for Birmingham last season.

And Birmingham will reward Fahey's form with a new three-year deal which will take the Tallaght man's wage packet into the big league, as the deal will be signed when Fahey returns from international duty -- a tour of duty which hopefully will include his first senior cap.

"It is there or thereabouts. All the work has been done. It's a three-year deal. The fact that the gaffer Alex McLeish has said this today is a good thing," said Fahey on his new deal after playing for Ireland's senior side in a training game against the Irish Junior international XI at Malahide last night, a game marred by a serious injury to Everton teenager Shane Duffy who was hospitalised afterwards.

"It's good news to hear it because you never know what can happen so I am very, very happy to get that sorted."

Birmingham City man Fahey has been training with the senior Ireland squad all week and the Tallaght man is hopeful of winning his first senior cap against Paraguay on Tuesday at the RDS.

McLeish, who managed Scotland in 2007, says that Fahey is now ready to make the step up to senior international football under Trapattoni now that the Italian has finally handed Fahey a place in his squad.

"Trapattoni had a formula that worked. When you have got a formula at international level you know that if you bring somebody in, you are under pressure to play them, so I do understand Trapattoni's situation there," said McLeish.

"But I'm sure that if Keith shows up well in these games then Trapattoni might make him a feature, because he's got the ability, no doubt about it.

"Keith's call-up is absolutely deserved. If anybody deserves it, it's Keith because he's a great footballer.

"He was instrumental in our success in the Championship, when we brought him in that January.

"And this season in the Premier League, he's proven he's a Premier League player with his performances," added McLeish.

Fahey said: "It would be great to play next week, I'm excited and really, really looking forward to next week.

"My aim is to get involved in the squads for the European Championship -- I just don't want to get a cap for a friendly.

"It's great getting your first cap, second cap but I want to get involved in the qualifiers.

"You set yourself goals. My goal this week was to do well in training and to catch the eye. I have been happy with training.

"Next week, if I get game time then I have got to make the best of it."