Monday 18 December 2017

Trap's gamble: Dunne and St Ledger to face Bosnians despite fitness concerns

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI Trapattoni is praying that his gamble on the fitness of Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger will not backfire in today's friendly with Bosnia and Herzegovina at Lansdowne Road.

Trapattoni (left) had ruled his first-choice centre-halves out of the match on Thursday, but rowed back on the decision after the pair's condition improved and they came through yesterday's training session unscathed.

Shay Given and John O'Shea sit out the fixture as a precaution with Euro 2012 in mind. Trapattoni has asked Dunne and St Ledger to be responsible and let the bench know if they feel they are suffering.

Dunne, who is only just back from a three-month broken collarbone lay-off, has an abdominal tear, but needs to build his match fitness. St Ledger picked up a groin problem during the week.

"Until yesterday, there wasn't a reason to run the risk with them," said Trapattoni.

"I had doubts about their ability to play. But after a long warm-up, I spoke with them about the responsibility of the situation and they confirmed they were available.

"I saw they were well in training and I am happy now because they seem to be in good condition."

Trapattoni starts Paul McShane at right-full after his SOS call into the panel.

The Wicklow native gets the nod ahead of Stephen Kelly, who Trapattoni was planning to field in central defence until Dunne became available. McShane is not a member of the Italian's 23-man finals squad, but will go to Poland on standby in case any of the defenders with ailments -- a list which also includes hamstring victim Kevin Foley -- fail to convince management they are fit.

The shuffling around in the defensive department has taken some of the attention away from James McClean, who makes his first Irish start on the left side of midfield. The Sunderland winger has impressed Trapattoni over the last week.

Darron Gibson is selected to partner Glenn Whelan in the centre of the park, with Keith Andrews joining fellow regular Aiden McGeady on the bench. Keiren Westwood deputises for Given, while Kevin Doyle gets the opportunity to boost his confidence alongside Robbie Keane.

IRELAND -- Keiren Westwood (Sunderland); Paul McShane (Hull), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Stephen Ward (Wolves); James McClean (Sunderland), Darron Gibson (Everton), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Damien Duff (Fulham); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves).

Bosnia -- Begovic (Stoke City); Mujdza (Freiburg), Jahic (Karabukspor), Pandza (Mechelen), Salihovic (Hoffenheim); Pjanic (Roma), Misimovic (Dinamo Moscow), Rahimic (CSKA Moscow), Lulic (Lazio); Dzeko (Manchester City), Ibisevic (Stuttgart).

Ireland v Bosnia & Herzegovina,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 3.0

Irish Independent

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