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Confident Szczesny backs Poland to dent Irish hopes in Dublin

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Szczesny: Wants to maintain form

Szczesny: Wants to maintain form

PA

Szczesny: Wants to maintain form

ON and on Poland go towards European Championship qualification and, aided by their huge expatriate population in Ireland, Wojciech Szczesny reckons the next challenge in Dublin can be overcome too.

Defeat to the visiting Poles in March, thereby creating a six-point gap between the nations, would all but write off the automatic qualification ambitions for Martin O'Neill's Ireland at the midway point of the campaign.

Although victory for Adam Nawalka's Group D leaders is not essential, Szczesny sees no reason why Poland cannot follow Friday's 4-0 humbling of Georgia with mothballing Ireland's top-two prospects next.

"We're in a great position on top of the group, so another good result for us in Dublin would almost definitely open the door to qualification," suggested Szczesny, who kept his third clean sheet over four qualifiers in Tbilisi. "In the past couple of years, we've got stick from the Polish media for not performing but these days everyone is behind us. The main difference from the last campaign is how few goals we've conceded.

"We set the standard in this campaign by beating Germany and staying top of the group. The management always has us well prepared for facing the opposition and those standards will be maintained against Ireland. Picking up points in places like Dublin will be important, as will winning our three remaining matches at home."

Szczesny expects to see plenty of Ireland's Polish community at Lansdowne Road again. It was thought that at least half of the 43,112 fans at the friendly in February 2013 that Ireland won 2-0 were Polish.

"Although our most recent trip to play Ireland wasn't a good performance by us and we lost, there were loads of Poland's fans inside the stadium," he outlined.

"I'm sure there will be another brilliant atmosphere in Dublin."

Indo Sport