Friday 23 February 2018

Trap boost as Pav' out for Russia

RUSSIA have suffered a major setback ahead of Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Dublin after it emerged that Spurs' Roman Pavlyuchenko will miss the game, WRITES DANIEL McDONNELL.

The talented striker was withdrawn at half-time in his club's win over Aston Villa last Saturday and Russia coach Dick Advocaat said yesterday that it would be a risk to field the 28-year-old in either the clash with Ireland or next Tuesday's encounter in Macedonia.

Mercurial Zenit St Petersburg striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov would be in line to replace Pavlyuchenko, but there is also a slight doubt surrounding his fitness so his club-mate, Alexander Bukharov, has been called up.

It's good news for Giovanni Trapattoni, who on Monday learned that he would have to cope without the services of both Damien Duff and Keith Andrews.

Richard Dunne sat out training in Malahide yesterday but only as a precaution as the Dubliner is still carrying a knee problem that needs to be treated carefully.

Assistant boss Marco Tardelli said he is "100pc certain" that Dunne will start in the showdown with the group's top seeds.

Tardelli has watched the DVD of Russia's shock loss at home to Slovakia last month and backs Advocaat's assertion that they deserved at least a draw from that Moscow encounter.

He believes that this week's visitors are one of the top 10 teams in the world, but has expressed confidence in the ability of the Irish side to produce a positive result.

"We are very happy with our players," said Tardelli. "If we play like we did in the other matches then, for me, everything is possible."

Darron Gibson sat out the latter part of Ireland's training session after taking a knock on his knee, but should be fine to take his place on the bench.

Irish Independent

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