Wilson rues costly impact of 'stupid' injury and delayed start
Marc Wilson has suffered because of a 'stupid' pre-season injury that has left him playing catch-up at Stoke and hopes that it doesn't cost him his regular role in the Ireland side.
In theory, tonight's game with Gibraltar presents an ideal opportunity for O'Neill's favoured left-sided centre-half to get 90 minutes under his belt ahead of Monday's meeting with Georgia.
However, he is conscious that the manager could look at it differently and opt for a player with matches under his belt such as Ciaran Clark.
Wilson has been restricted to a League Cup outing at Luton because of a setback he incurred in a friendly at Wrexham which annoys him because it was so innocuous.
"A stupid one," he sighs, "I went up for a header and came down on the side of my ankle. That's as much as was in it. Just bad luck.
"It's one of the most important times of the year to get a good pre-season and I'm still playing catch-up with some of the boys but over the last couple of weeks I feel good again."
Wilson has faced increased competition at Stoke over the past 12 months, while his Irish situation has settled with O'Neill sticking with the partnership between the Aghagallon man and John O'Shea. That's why he is optimistic that the manager believes he is ready.
"I think I'm fully fit but obviously you've got to respect the manager's decision," he says. "I feel comfortable playing alongside John. He's got a lot of experience and he's a good communicator."
Meanwhile, James McClean has revealed that he has turned his garage into a boxing gym to improve his conditioning.
McClean, renowned for his strong work ethic both on and away from the training ground, told FAI TV that he'd decided to make changes in his house.
"I was probably fitter at Derry than I am now," says McClean. "I was going out running the roads at 11, 12 o'clock at night while friends were going out.
"The way I look at it, five minutes to go, if you've got something left in the tank more than the other player you're always going to have that better chance of getting on a loose ball or at the back post to score."
The West Brom recruit added that a move to New York Red Bulls in the summer was effectively agreed before Tony Pulis swooped.
"I would always have regretted not going back to the Premier League again," said McClean, who added in a wide-ranging chat that he is interested in following Robbie Brady's footsteps and converting to left-back.