Thursday 22 March 2018

Dunne and Forde in line to start crunch Sweden clash

Richard Dunne
Richard Dunne
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

David Forde and Richard Dunne have been given the green light by Giovanni Trapattoni to start Friday's World Cup qualifier against Sweden.

Dunne will get the nod ahead of Ciaran Clark after impressing again for QPR in their weekend win over Leeds, while the Millwall keeper made his comeback from a knee injury and is set to take over from Keiren Westwood, who deputised for the friendly in Wales last month and fancied his chances of staying in goal after starting Sunderland's campaign as their first choice.

"Richard only made one mistake in 90 minutes, he was good again," said Trapattoni. "With a striker like (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, we need the strong defender. It is important to have him, he has trained for two weeks and played one, two, three games. Sure, he can play.

"David Forde has no problem. I spoke with Alan Kelly (goalkeeping coach) and he spoke with David also, his performance (v Brighton) was very, very good, he is confident that his knee is not swollen.

"We also saw Westwood and he played well but at the moment, David is fit, and will not have a problem so, sure, I will play him. He played well in Sweden."

An injury scare for Marc Wilson has led to Bristol City defender Greg Cunningham being added to the squad as left-back cover.

Wilson hurt his foot while in action for Stoke on Saturday but a scan has revealed no fracture or serious problems so he should be fit to take his place at Lansdowne Road.

The unavailability of the Stoke man would have placed the spotlight on the decision to let Joey O'Brien stay at West Ham to rest his knee, but it appears that Trapattoni will have his first-choice option.

The Ireland boss is determined to stick with John O'Shea at centre-back next to Dunne and feels Paolo Di Canio will regret criticising the Waterford man for his error in the Black Cats' defeat to Crystal Palace. O'Shea was sent off after giving away a penalty.

"There is no man that cannot make one mistake," said Trapattoni.

"I know Di Canio, he was my player, when he has more years as a coach he will think differently."

Meanwhile, Jeff Hendrick will miss the remainder of the campaign – the Derby man faces months on the sidelines after damaging his ankle.

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