GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI will attempt to plot a route to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil when his Republic of Ireland squad meets up later this month.
The 74-year-old Italian today named a provisional 28-man squad for the eagerly anticipated friendly against England at Wembley on May 29 and the game against Georgia in Dublin on June 2, in preparation for the qualifier against the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium five days later.
Trapattoni and his players will then head for New York and a prestige friendly against Spain at Yankee Stadium on June 11.
However, during their time together at the end of this season, the manager will have one eye on the Group C clashes with Sweden, Austria, Germany and Kazakhstan which will determine their destiny later in the year.
Trapattoni said: "We must consider the positives from our games against Sweden and Austria when preparing for these fixtures.
"We produced two strong performances and the players have proven that they are working very well together.
"I am very happy to have the squad together for these games, firstly to prepare for the Faroe Islands World Cup qualifier, and then for the challenges we have ahead of us in September.
"This trip creates the chance to work with the players for a longer period than usual in order to bond and plan for the remainder of our FIFA World Cup qualifier games.
"These matches will provide me with the opportunity to experiment with different players and tactics. I am looking forward to assembling the squad in London on May 26."
Skipper Robbie Keane, who has missed LA Galaxy's last three games with an ankle injury, is included, as are Aiden McGeady and Anthony Pilkington.
However, there are no places for Ciaran Clark and Kevin Doyle, who both have fitness problems, or defender Richard Dunne, who could yet train with the squad after spending the entire season on the sidelines, providing the Football Association of Ireland can gain permission from his club, Aston Villa.
Trapattoni will whittle down the original party next month after taking injuries into account and he will also have to check on Pilkington's plans, with the Norwich man due to be married two days after the England game.
Ireland lie in fourth place in their group after allowing a 2-1 lead over Austria to slip at the death in the last qualifier in March, four days after securing a creditable 0-0 draw in Sweden.
All three sides currently have eight points, half the total amassed so far by leaders Germany, who have played a game more than Ireland and the Austrians and two more than the Swedes.
Austria and Sweden meet in Vienna the same night as the Republic attempt to complete a double over the Faroes following their 4-1 victory in Torshavn in October.
But first there is the little matter of a trip to Wembley for the first time since 1991.
The fixture is part of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations and will be followed by a return game at the Aviva Stadium, which has been provisionally scheduled for November 2014.
England have not played in Ireland since rioting travelling supporters forced the abandonment of their game at Lansdowne Road in 1995 with the Irish leading 1-0.
Trapattoni will look to hone his final team selection for the Faroes against the Georgians, and will hope to head for the United States and a re-run of Ireland's Euro 2012 finals clash with eventual winners Spain having safely banked the points.