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Walters may lead front line: Tardelli

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Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters after squad training ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Faroe Islands on Friday.Picture: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile.

Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters after squad training ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Faroe Islands on Friday.Picture: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile.

Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters after squad training ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Faroe Islands on Friday.Picture: Brian Lawless/Sportsfile.

JONATHAN Walters is winning the race to earn a slot in the Ireland XI for the visit of the Faroe Islands on Friday night.

Giovanni Trapattoni has to make some changes to his side as Shane Long and James McCarthy are suspended for the World Cup game. Last Sunday's 4-0 win over Georgia saw Simon Cox (who scored in the victory) and Conor Sammon (who set up the first of Robbie Keane's two goals) both stake a claim.

But Trap is still a big fan of Walters. He has been used on the right side of midfield in his last three appearances, against England, Austria and Sweden, but the big man from Stoke City appears to be in pole position to line out alongside Robbie Keane up front.

"We have many options to play with Robbie Keane. There is Sammon, Walters or Cox. We have two or three days to decide but I think it is possible that (it will be) Jonathan," said assistant manager Marco Tardelli.

"We know that Walters plays as a striker at Stoke sometimes and sometimes on the right. He is very strong physically and strong when heading the ball and has good quality.

"At the moment he is good in training and he scored four goals in training yesterday."

Scoring goals is the aim for Friday's game, and Tardelli says that the Irish camp have been watching a tape of the Faroes' heavy defeat to Austria in March, trying to gain an insight while being aware that the loss can be misleading.

"I watched the DVD and Austria attacked wide and scored after seven minutes. After that goal, it became very easy," he said.

"We want to play so but sometimes we have different opponents and against Faroes we need to take a ball and play ball and we need the player with this quality. It's possible to play like we did against Georgia but sometimes it's impossible.

"England was very important but the big match is Ireland-Faroes, as it's a match to qualify for Brazil. We need to forget the matches against England and Georgia and focus on this match.

"But the players worked very hard in training and think of the match," he added.


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