Monday 14 October 2019

'It might work out for me on Saturday' - Matt Doherty happy to play at left-back against Georgia

Matt Doherty during an Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin today. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Matt Doherty during an Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin today. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

John Brennan

Matt Doherty has no illusions about what the next week means for Irish football.

"This international window will go a long way to settling Euro 2020 qualification, they are two tough away matches against Georgia and Switzerland. Get points in these and we are in business," he said.

And the Wolves man intends to be part of the fight for the points with Mick McCarthy fingering him for the job of replacing the suspended Enda Stevens at left-back against the Georgians on Saturday.

Speaking before training with the Irish squad at Abbotstown, Doherty is up for the challenge of playing at left-back, despite not having played there for over two years at Wolves.

"Some people think it is just a matters of switching sides. It is when it comes to attacking, because you are always looking to go forward to get inside the full-back, to go outside, to go down the line, to play an infield pass," Doherty said.

"You have all the options. But when it comes to defending, you are playing beside a different guy, for one thing, the nearest defender to you will not be the same player and you have got to get the instinct right about holding the line.

"About being a step forward, where you are leaving space behind, or being a step back where you are keeping attackers onside. But it should all click within a few minutes."

Form-wise, it has been a slow start for Doherty this season.

Sean Maguire is pictured during an Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Sean Maguire is pictured during an Ireland press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"I picked up and injury in the first week of pre-season, would you believe it, but lately things have started to go for me and for the team  and last Sunday (beating Manchester City) was brilliant," the Dubliner said.

The Wolves man sees the fact that he can play a number of positions as an asset, not a curse.

"It gives you a better chance of playing if you can play a number of positions. It might work out for me on Saturday, that I am able to play left-back," he said.

"It has been frustrating that I have not played in recent matches for Ireland, but you just have to take your chance when you get it."

Matt is joined in the Irish squad this week by Preston's Seanie Maguire, who missed the matches against Switzerland and Bulgaria last month because of a freak injury.

"A ball hit me right in the eye during training. I was actually blind for a week in one eye and sitting in the house at home, watching the Ireland games, was very frustrating. But things are going well now with Preston sitting third in the Championship and I've got three goals for the season and three assists too," said Maguire.

"I've set myself a target of scoring 15 goals this season and got a good start."But Maguire has a job on his hands to get a starting place or even a sub's role now, because suddenly Irish forwards are scoring in England - and now there's Aaron Connolly of Brighton in the mix.

"Well, Didsy (David McGoldrick) has been out most consistent player since Mick came back as boss. But all of us, Scott Hogan, James Collins, Callum Robinson, Aaron and myself are scoring goals at club level and we're all hoping to play against Georgia and Switzerland."

Maguire did get a starting chance in the away game against Gibraltar, but he had a wry take on that match last March.

"Ah look,  the surface on the carpet in this room was probably better than the pitch out there. It was the same for everyone, but hardest for the strikers," he added.

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