Tuesday 12 December 2017

Martin O'Neill makes two changes for Ireland's pivotal World Cup qualifier with Serbia

Manager of Republic of Ireland Martin O'Neill during a press conference at FAI NTC in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Manager of Republic of Ireland Martin O'Neill during a press conference at FAI NTC in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has made two changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw with Georgia with Wes Hoolahan replacing Glenn Whelan and David Meyler coming in for Harry Arter.

Meyler and Hoolahan were unused substitutes in the draw with Georgia with many criticising O'Neill's reluctance to use the latter given Ireland's dour performance.

The Ireland boss feels there has been an overreaction to the performance in Tbilisi and wants his squad to think positively about other famous nights at the Aviva as they prepare for a match that Serbia's Nemanja Matic has described as the biggest game in their country's football history.

"We haven't lost a competitive game in the campaign despite some poor 25 minutes, half-an-hours or 45 minutes, as it was the other night," said O'Neill.

"Those sort of things keep you going. The players sometimes have to be reminded of that.

"We have to think of nights we had here at the Aviva. We beat the world champions Germany, and then we had the play-off against Bosnia and there's been fightbacks in some other games and grandstand finishes that should be uppermost in our mind.

"The players have shown a great determination here in games where despite not having as much possession as the other team, they've found a way to pull it around and that will be uppermost in our thoughts. If we play very, very strongly we can win the game."

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