Friendly win an ideal boost insists Arter
Harry Arter hopes that last night's win over Uruguay in a friendly is another signpost directing this Ireland side towards Russia.
The 27-year-old is still a rookie at international level, as this was only his fifth senior cap, but Arter did enough to win the Man of the Match award from the TV panel and may also have staked his claim for a place in the side in the game that matters, at home to Austria on Sunday.
The players will now have some down-time but there's a lot of work to be done before kick-off at 5pm next Sunday, though the Uruguay win was ideal for Arter.
"It would have felt like a long week if we hadn't performed as a team or didn't get a positive result but wins breed confidence and I'm sure that everyone will be looking forward to training in a couple of days time after we've had a couple of days' rest," said Arter.
"I'm really looking forward to the Austria game. Performances and results so far in the qualifying campaign have been really good and last night was another good indication that we are going in the right direction.
"The manager just wanted to let us know we had an opportunity to show that we wanted to be playing against Austria. For me, as a professional, you just want to win every game.
"I think from the start team-wise and individually everybody showed that from the start of the game and that probably helped get the result."
Players like Jon Walters, Stephen Ward and Robbie Brady all missed the Mexico friendly, played yesterday but are certain to start. It's not a guarantee Arter has, but he feels he passed yesterday's audition.
"I try and perform like that every week when I play for Bournemouth and that's why the manager picks me here and I try not to differ it too much," Arter admitted.
"We were sat down at the start of the week and the manager said 'preparations start here' the minute we met up.
"A few of us met up late on the Saturday and we started preparing for that game, a massive test, confidence-wise. You want to go into big games with a good result behind you, that's what drove us last night to do that."
Jon Walters claimed a goal and the captain's armband in the win but he stresses that this victory will be valueless if the side don't beat Austria on Sunday.
"It's good to get that win and go into this week with that bit of confidence. It's always nice to have that winning mentality but it counts for nothing if we don't perform next week," Walters said.
"Games like that (Mexico last week) are very difficult, It just shows that we can bounce back because Uruguay were another very good team, albeit one missing their best player.
"I thought that we played really well. It wasn't just the win, it was how we won."
Walters was in need of a game after a bleak spell with his club but he's now in form.
"I didn't play all that much towards the back end of the season. I was playing, then had an operation. I came back and played again," he says.
"I think when I was starting, I was lucky enough to be playing up front for Stoke and got four in nine 10 games so I'm happy enough that when I play I'll score the goals.
"I'm looking forward to next week now, whether I play or not is something that the manager decides.
"I haven't had as many games as some of the other lads but I think I keep myself fit enough, I'm always ready when called on."