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Will Keane and Ryan Manning shine in a scoring weekend

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Swansea City's Ryan Manning (centre) celebrates with Ireland team-mate Cyrus Christie after scoring against Preston at the Swansea.com Stadium.

Swansea City's Ryan Manning (centre) celebrates with Ireland team-mate Cyrus Christie after scoring against Preston at the Swansea.com Stadium.

Swansea City's Ryan Manning (centre) celebrates with Ireland team-mate Cyrus Christie after scoring against Preston at the Swansea.com Stadium.

Matt Doherty’s selection in the Spurs side for their showdown with Chelsea was a Sunday tonic for Stephen Kenny after a Saturday where the main joy came from the Football League.

The top-scoring Irish option in England this year is Will Keane, with the Wigan Athletic striker bagging a brace in their victory over Gillingham to bring his tally for the campaign to 14.

Under Kenny, Ireland have been forced to look at League One for squad members but the encouraging news is that a healthy number operating in the third tier are on course for promotion.

Wigan are level at the top with Sunderland but they have four games in hand on the Black Cats, so Keane and James McClean are well on course for a Championship return.

Chiedozie’s Ogbene Rotherham United are a point further back with two fewer games played than Sunderland, and their victory over Cheltenham Town means they remain the favourites to accompany Wigan in making the leap.

Keane (29) is belatedly enjoying the best season of a stop-start club career and is firmly in contention to figure for Kenny across this year.

One player who will be looking to play himself back into the equation is Birmingham City striker Scott Hogan.

He nabbed the winner against Barnsley to register his eighth goal of the season, which is more than any other Irish performer in the Championship.

James Collins did feature under Kenny last year and scored in Cardiff City’s 3-2 reverse at the hands of Bristol City, but the goal of the weekend from a Welsh and Irish perspective was a stunning left- footed strike from Ryan Manning to give Swansea City all three points against Preston North End.

Manning has found himself behind Enda Stevens and James McClean in the Irish pecking order, and Doherty has also been used at left wing back, but club boss Russell Martin praised a player who was watched by Ireland chief scout Stephen Rice on Saturday.

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Russell spoke of how the Galwegian has thrived on the left of a back three, a development that may intrigue Kenny.

“I love Ryan as a character and a player, playing in a position a lot of people were surprised to see him play in,” he said.

“He’s grown a hell of a lot and he’s a young man who has a lot of room for improvement. He knows how I feel about him and what he’s capable of.”


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