Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 February 2018

Daniel McDonnell's squad prediction

Trusting that everyone listed above is available for action, then the key issue for the Irish manager revolves around the division of his midfield options.

He said in Mullingar last week that he wanted four central midfielders and four wide men; the question is if Fahey is solely regarded as a winger when he is better in the engine room?

Trapattoni's positive words about McClean suggest that the Sunderland star's talent on the flank will see him join Duff, Hunt and McGeady on the plane, with Coleman left behind. That leaves Fahey, Gibson, McCarthy and Green fighting for two slots as the understudies to Whelan and Andrews.

Fahey's versatility should get him across the line and he was preferred to Gibson on the bench for the play-offs when all were available. Does McCarthy also pass out the Everton man? It's a close call, but Trapattoni is concerned that Whelan or Andrews could pick up two bookings during the tournament.

After giving McCarthy just three minutes of competitive action on the way here, the suspicion is that he would want an older head in reserve in case suspensions occur. Green is in the equation, but Gibson may just get the nod. The fans would like to see both McClean and McCarthy travel, yet it seems to be a case of one or the other unless Trapattoni has a surprise up his sleeve.

Predicted Final 23

Given, Westwood, Forde; O'Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward, O'Dea, Foley, Kelly; Duff, McGeady, Hunt, Whelan, Andrews, Fahey, Gibson, McClean; Keane, Doyle, Long, Walters, Cox. Standby: McCarthy, Green, McShane, Henderson

Irish Independent

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