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Skipper set to miss out as Kenny prepares to make big call on Coleman-Doherty dilemma


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Ireland defender Seamus Coleman

Ireland defender Seamus Coleman

Ireland defender Seamus Coleman

Stephen Kenny is preparing to pick Matt Doherty ahead of Seamus Coleman for his first game as Ireland manager.

The Ireland boss has indicated that he will stick with a back four for tonight's game against Bulgaria and that effectively means a straight choice between Doherty and Coleman for the right-back spot, given his plans to operate with a 4-3-3-style system.

Kenny is leaning towards Spurs' new £15m (€17m) recruit Doherty after offering the view that he has been undervalued by previous managers of the international side. He did bring his captain, Coleman (below), with him to last night's stadium press conference in Sofia but it's anticipated Doherty will get the nod with the manager favouring retaining the back four that started Mick McCarthy's final game in charge, with Enda Stevens at left full and Shane Duffy and John Egan partnered together in the visitors' central defence.

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Matt Doherty sealed a £16m move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer

Matt Doherty sealed a £16m move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer

Matt Doherty sealed a £16m move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer

Kenny admits that speaking honestly about his regard for his players may have built expectations, but he is comfortable with the pressure.

He has promised an aggressive and positive approach to herald the start of a new era.

The former Dundalk manager has warned that it may be unrealistic to expect radical changes off the back of a handful of training sessions.

However, he is confident that the players can adapt to a change of style towards a more possession-based approach.

"Sometimes I answer questions too honestly but it's not a deliberate strategy," suggested the 48-year-old Dubliner.

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"Maybe it's not wise, maybe other people are wiser than me.

"But I do believe that we have a lot of potential coming through the ranks.

"We have a lot of good players in the squad already and I think it's a huge honour really to manage this group - a huge privilege. I don't see any added pressure really.

"We definitely have a clear way on how we want to play.

"We will be aggressive, I absolutely say that with conviction.

"We will press high the way we're capable of doing and we'll ultimately want to control the games in the way that we can.

"They are all good players who are playing at a high level and they're used to changing managers.

"They are tactically adaptable and intelligent people and they can take stuff on board."


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