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Forde hopes regular club starts can give him edge over Westwood

KEIREN WESTWOOD's bad fortune handed David Forde his opportunity on Wednesday night and now the Galway native is hoping he can hold on to the Ireland No 1 jersey.

The Millwall 'keeper has one major advantage over his Sunderland rival: he is playing regularly for his club, albeit in the Championship.

Having never played in a home international, the former Galway United and Derry City goalkeeper was delighted to take advantage of Westwood's groin injury and make his first appearance at Lansdowne Road.

And now he is looking to try to oust Westwood, who took over the No 1 spot after Shay Given's retirement, but whose lack of first-team opportunities on Wearside is hindering his claim.

"For me, Wednesday night was just nice to make my home debut and to start. It was a big game for me and one I thoroughly enjoyed," said Forde.

"It came on me quite quickly but all I can do is concentrate on my own performances and my own form and see where it takes me.


"Outside of that, it's not really my decision. The thing is we've got a great group there – the 'keepers and Alan Kelly – and it's quite tight between all three of us."

Forde had little chance with Greece midfielder Jose Holebas' first-half winner on Wednesday, but otherwise he was happy with how his home debut went.

"To start in the Aviva is a big, big dream come true for me. Hopefully I can keep adding onto those caps," he said.

"I know I'm experienced at club level but I'm relatively inexperienced at international level. So I'm still finding my feet at this level and it's one I think I can achieve."

Meanwhile, Stephen Ward believes that Ireland can get a result when they meet Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden next March in the crucial World Cup qualifier.

"Of course it's going to be tough, but if we can perform like we did against Greece there's no reason why we can't get a result," the Wolves defender said.

"Obviously, after the Germany game, confidence was low and we took a lot of criticism, which is only right. But the way we reacted in the Faroes kept us alive in the group.

"Then we put on a good performance against Greece. The result didn't go our way, but if we can keep performing like that, I'm sure things will turn, because I don't think we are far away from turning our results around.

"With Poland coming, hopefully we can build on Greece, get a good result there and that will bring us into the two games that will probably shape the group for us."

Irish Independent