Vera Pauw has decided against starting her newest recruit Megan Walsh and will keep faith with number one netminder Courtney Brosnan for Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier against Georgia.
The East Europeans haven’t scored a goal yet in their campaign so there may not be much for Brosnan to do but Pauw has resisted the temptation to bring in the Women’s Super League top-ranked Brighton stopper.
“Courtney will start,” confirmed Pauw, who will swap Kyra Carusa for Heather Payne, while Ruesha Littlejohn is likely to start in a more attack-minded 3-5-2 against the minnows.
Ireland remain on track for a playoff spot, despite last week’s stuttering draw with Slovakia and sign off 2021 with their final home game before visiting group leaders and qualification favourites Sweden next spring.
“We have to be realistic,” said Pauw of any over-arching ambitions of reining in the classy Swedes.
“The team ranked second in the world, to kick them off - not in a one-off game where that can happen - but throughout a full campaign, it would not be realistic. It would be the same to think you could win against Germany and keep them off first place.
“That doesn’t mean we are not going to do everything to win in Sweden of course but tomorrow we have to get the three points to be in the race for that second place.
“We’re very confident we can get composure and creativity tomorrow. The game-plan works well. Today we have to put the dots on the ‘I’s’, but we respect the opponent.
“It’s not that they cannot play, they are the weaker side, but they have some strengths in their squad, they are very fast upfront, so we need to really take care of the space behind us and we have to block every pass forward immediately.”
Heather Payne has returned to Florida State University for exams, but all other players are fit and available for selection.
Over 4,000 tickets have been sold for the Tallaght Stadium encounter as Vera Pauw's team aim to pick up their second win in Group A.
“We are clear about it, this is a must-win game for us if we are to qualify for the World Cup. We have prepared well and we are ready for this game, but we know that we must take the three points.
"As we expected when the draw for Group A was made, there are no easy games. In fact, we believe this to be the most difficult group of all, with both Slovakia and Georgia being a lot stronger than they are given credit for. And, of course, we have the top two seeds in Sweden and Finland.
"It was fantastic to have over 5,000 fans for our game against Slovakia. The atmosphere that they create is just incredible and we hope that our fans will be there once again on Tuesday night cheering the team on."