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Wounds of U-21 defeats leave Coleman alert to danger of Armenians

SEAMUS COLEMAN has already seen first hand what a team of Armenian footballers can do against Ireland in Dublin, so he's warning his team-mates in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad to be very wary when Vardan Minasyan's side take to the field in Lansdowne Road tomorrow night.

In March of last year, Coleman lined out in defence for the Irish U21s when they took on Armenia in Tallaght Stadium in the second-last game of a dismal qualifying campaign for the Irish side, where Don Givens' side finished bottom of their group.

Levon Hayrapetyan -- who is in Armenia's senior squad for tomorrow's game -- put the away side 1-0 up and Armenia finished 2-1 winners and finished off Don Givens as Ireland U21 boss.

"Armenia beat us and beat us well that day in Tallaght and I think quite a few of that U21 team have come through to their senior squad now," says Coleman, who is in the senior panel for tomorrow's game and is hoping to earn a place on the bench for the crucial group finale.

"They beat us 4-1 in the U21 game over there in Armenia. I didn't play in that one but I know from speaking to the lads that they had a hard time.

"They have improved massively even as the campaign went on. They're scoring lots of goals now and I can't see them changing their approach, they will come to Dublin and just go for the win and we'll have to deal with that.

"They have done brilliantly to get themselves into this position. A lot of people expected Slovakia to be pressing hard behind Russia and ourselves in this group but it's Armenia who are there, and they are there on merit.

"We will go out to win the game even though a draw will do. We need to attack them and attempt to win the match, but if it's still 0-0 after 80 minutes that mentality might change as a draw will do, but we will start the game in a positive manner.

"Making the play-offs would be brilliant. The Irish fans have been fantastic throughout this campaign, they've travelled all over Europe with us and they were there again in Andorra on Friday night, so for their sakes it would be great to finish off the job and make the play-offs," Coleman told the Herald.

Coleman didn't even make the bench for Friday's game in Andorra but with a space in the match-day squad now free thanks to Stephen Ward's suspension, the Everton man hopes he can earn a place on the bench and then make an impact if needed. "I was disappointed not to be part of things for Andorra, but there were six of us in the same boat who watched the game from the stand, so my aim now is to be involved in some way tomorrow night," says Coleman.

"I can offer something in defence or in midfield so I can give the manager options.

"If I can train well between now and kick-off time maybe I can get into the manager's thoughts."

Coleman is enjoying a good run of form with his club, however, after returning from injury. "I've started the last five games with the club which is pleasing," he says.

"I got the injury at a bad time, in pre-season, and that really knocked me off course.

"But I'm in good shape now and I'm in the Everton team so hopefully I can build on that.

"It's been a hard season at times but we know what we have in the squad and we know what we are capable of. There's fantastic team spirit in that Everton dressing room and I feel we can have a great season."