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Trapattoni under pressure

IT'S time for Giovanni Trapattoni to deliver and take a giant step towards the Euro 2012 finals against Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium tonight.

Anything less than a win will throw Ireland's qualification hopes into the melting pot and turn the trip to Moscow for Tuesday's game against Russia into a mission impossible.

After three years in charge, the pressure is on for Trapattoni to take the team he has moulded into a dour but difficult to beat unit and release the shackles.

But Trapattoni has a plan and remains upbeat and defiant: "I hope that Slovakia start in a certain way because we already have our weapons ready - the guns are out for every situation."

Trap has chosen Shane Long ahead of Kevin Doyle and replaced the injured Kevin Kilbane with Stephen Ward.

"It is not the game to have players at 50%. I wanted to use fresh energy and I need players for 90 minutes," he said.