Thursday 18 January 2018

O’Neill could delay squad decision

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O’Neill is prepared to wait until next Tuesday to confirm the identity of the six players who will miss out on his Euro 2016 squad.

The Ireland team started training in Abbotstown yesterday and O’Neill’s initial plan was to name his final 23 after Friday’s friendly with Holland at the Aviva Stadium.

But he is contemplating waiting until after the friendly with Belarus in Turner’s Cross on this day week, just ahead of the UEFA deadline.

O’Neill has cut Paul McShane, Jonny Hayes, Alex Pearce and Anthony Pilkington from his provisional 35-man squad, while newcomer Callum O’Dowda is here to gain experience for the long term.

The confirmation that Marc Wilson is out of the finals through injury leaves O’Neill with 29 bodies and he might use the Belarus game to make his mind up for sure.

“I don’t have a problem waiting for that as I could still make my mind up or players could make their mind up for me,” said O’Neill.

Harry Arter is set to be involved against Holland at some stage as he attempts to make his case, while O’Neill will tell a group that includes Darron Gibson, Daryl Murphy, David McGoldrick, Stephen Quinn and Aiden McGeady to do extra fitness work.

The latter is already in Dublin because he’s not needed for loan club Sheffield Wednesday’s play-off final. Keiren Westwood, David Forde, David Meyler and Kevin Doyle will link up with the group late because of club commitments.

James McCarthy is doubtful for Friday with a thigh problem but the medical team are happy with the results of a scan.

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