Sunday 18 March 2018

Boss Noel King calls on Republic Under-21s to finish with a flourish

Republic of Ireland Under-21s manager Noel King
Republic of Ireland Under-21s manager Noel King

Noel King has challenged his Republic of Ireland Under-21 side to end a topsy-turvy European Championship qualification campaign on a high note.

Ireland cannot now qualify from Group Two with three games remaining, but manager King, who saw them begin with successive wins over Andorra home and away and Lithuania in Waterford before losing their next four fixtures, is looking for a strong finish ahead of Friday night's clash with Slovenia.

He said: "We've had some very good performances in the campaign, but we've also been erratic. It's been a story of a few highs and a few lows and players are always coming in and going out for a variety of reasons.

"But that's the nature of the job. There is a bit of a buzz around the squad with a lot of new talent in. They have brought a bit of excitement. Every player is looking forward to the game and they all want to play, but unfortunately that isn't possible.

"We are looking to secure the three points."

King has been boosted for the game, which will also take place at the RSC in Waterford, by the return from injury of skipper Tommie Hoban, while Everton striker Courtney Duffus and QPR winger Olamide Shodipo are pressing their claims.

The Republic, who currently lie in fourth place in the group, 10 points adrift of leaders Italy, will end the campaign with two games against Serbia, the first of which takes place in Novi Sad on Tuesday.

Press Association

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