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Saturday 21 September 2019

Robbie Keane: We will show our street mentality

Robbie Keane during squad training
Robbie Keane during squad training

Cian Tracey and Daniel McDonnell

Ireland captain Robbie Keane has called on his side to draw on their 'street mentality' when they take on Bosnia tomorrow evening in their Euro 2016 play-off first leg.

Keane admitted that he could not figure out why Ireland were so inconsistent throughout the qualifying campaign but he assured supporters that the players will 'battle' until the end.

"I wish we could (be more consistent)," Keane said.

"If that's the case, we'd be first or second. We wouldn't be in this situation where we're in the play-offs.

"But one thing I can tell you is that our players are going to fight for every second. They won't give Bosnia a chance.

"I think this is where you'll see the mentality of the Irish players growing up on the streets - tough and ready to play and ready to go to battle.

"If we see that tomorrow and Monday, I think we have a very good chance of qualifying. It's important that we try and keep a clean sheet and then we have players that can score goals.

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"There's always pressure. But this is good pressure. We're in a good situation. A situation that maybe three or four games ago people probably didn't expect us to be in.

"We're here now and we're quite capable of beating Bosnia and qualifying. There's no question about that. I'm fairly confident we can get something from these games," he added.

Keane is normally wheeled out for press duties on the eve of a match and the fact he faced the cameras earlier in the week could be construed as a hint that he may not start tomorrow's game.

However, his chances of involvement increased when it was confirmed that Shane Long (ankle) will miss the first leg, meaning that manager Marin O'Neill will travel with just three strikers - Keane, Kevin Doyle and leading candidate Daryl Murphy.

Long has remained in Southampton for treatment but has not yet been ruled out of the decider on Monday.

Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson has been called in to provide cover for the injured Keiren Westwood and Rob Elliot while Alan Judge (hamstring) received the all-clear to join up with the squad last night.

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