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Good form earns Best recall

Leon Best's exploits for Newcastle have won him a return to the Republic of Ireland squad.

The 24-year-old striker, whose injury problems since he joined the Magpies in January last year have limited his appearances until recently, has been included in a provisional party of 29 for the Carling Nations Cup clash with Wales on February 8.

Best marked his first senior start of the season with a Barclays Premier League hat-trick against West Ham on January 5, his first goals for the club.

Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark is expected to report for the first time after having to withdraw from the squad for the November friendly against Norway through injury.

The game at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin will be used as preparation for the resumption of the Republic's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign against Macedonia in March.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: "I am looking forward to the opening game of the Carling Nations Cup against Wales.

"This competition provides our players with familiar and tough opponents, and the added competitive edge to the tournament is the perfect preparation for our Euro qualifying campaign."

Squad: Shay Given (Manchester City), Keiren Westwood (Coventry), John O'Shea (Manchester United), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Preston), Kevin Foley (Wolves), Kevin Kilbane (Huddersfield), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Darren O'Dea (Ipswich), Paul McShane (Hull), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Manchester United), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Paul Green (Derby), Liam Lawrence (Portsmouth), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Keith Treacy (Preston), Damien Duff (Fulham), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Robbie Keane (Tottenham), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (Reading), Andy Keogh (Cardiff), Leon Best (Newcastle), Anthony Stokes (Celtic).

PA Media