Saturday 21 April 2018

Martin O'Neill names 39-man squad for Bosnia as doubts remain over John O'Shea and Shane Long

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a squad announcement.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a squad announcement.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane

Martin O’Neill has named a 39-man provisional squad for next month’s Euro 2016 play-off with Bosnia.

That’s one less than his initial panel for the double header with Germany and Poland earlier this month - Stephen Quinn is a confirmed absentee through injury.

Speaking today in Abbotstown, the Ireland manager admitted that he retains injury concerns over key men John O’Shea and Shane Long.

O’Shea is suspended for the first leg in Zenica but a hamstring injury sustained at the weekend on Sunderland duty means he is not guaranteed to return for the decider. “All hamstrings are concerning,” said O’Neill today. “Time will tell but we’ll give it every single possibility.”

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has indicated that Long could return to action this weekend after making good progress from the ankle injury he picked up against Germany. “I think it will be touch and go,” said the 63-year-old.

O’Neill admitted that the club situation of his goalkeepers is a concern with Shay Given, Darren Randolph and David Forde unlikely to line out at club level before meeting up. Rob Elliot is back in the frame at Newcastle on account of an injury to Tim Krul, while Keiren Westwood is first choice at Sheffield Wednesday but has been managing his fitness throughout this season.

The Derryman also said that he would hope that all his main performers are available for both fixtures, but acknowledged that the quick turnaround from Friday to Monday might be an issue for older members of the squad.

Wes Hoolahan told O’Neill that he was unable to start in Poland because of knocks that he was carrying and the Norwich playmaker was again mentioned in the context of that discussion.

“I try to work on the assumption that players, regardless of what age they are, will make themselves available for both games,” said O’Neill, “Wes wouldn’t be the only one that you’d have a bit of concern about.

“Some players come in and are absolutely full of it and (then) feel tired. I thought one or two of our players looked a wee bit leg weary in Poland, understandably so because of the effort they put in against Germany.

“I think there’s always a great deal of management involved in it. If someone comes in and says I don’t think I’m able to start the second game then of course you take that into consideration. If someone says I’m feeling tired and I could really start the game but I might not be able to last the 90 minutes, I’ll take that into consideration. I think players would do that for the good of the team, not just for themselves.”

Republic of Ireland squad to face Bosnia and Herzegovina: David Forde (Millwall), Shay Given (Stoke City), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Marc Wilson (Stoke City), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby County), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Blackburn Rovers), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Paul McShane (Reading), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Greg Cunningham (Preston North End), Robbie Brady (Norwich City), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Darron Gibson (Everton), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Paul Green (Rotherham United), Aiden McGeady (Everton), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Judge (Brentford), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City), David Meyler (Hull City), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Simon Cox (Bristol City).

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