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Saturday 22 November 2014

Hendrick: I'm ready to step up for Ireland

JEFF HENDRICK says he's ready to make the step-up to the senior international squad.

The Ireland boss this morning cancelled a planned press conference to announce his squad for the February 6 friendly against Poland due to the death of his sister back in Italy, but Trapattoni will of course be in charge for Poland's visit to Dublin next month.

Trapattoni has made two visits to Derby in the last fortnight, as Irish players Hendrick (right), Conor Sammon, Richard Keogh and Mark O'Brien all came under the spotlight.

But with Keith Andrews - who scored on his senior debut in a home friendly against Poland in 2008 - likely to miss the game due to injury, that frees up a slot in midfield for Hendrick, and Hendrick says he will not let anyone down.

"I have seen lads from the U21s make the step up to the seniors and if it happens for me I hope I could do well too," says Coolock lad Hendrick.

"Robbie Brady has gone in and played for the seniors and scored as well, Shane Duffy and Conor Clifford have also been in the senior squad, I played with them for the Irish U21s so I have a bit of an idea what the standard can be like.

"I'm not getting carried away with myself and I'm still learning my trade with the U21s but it would be a massive honour to get into the seniors some day," added Hendrick, who caught the eye with a run of three goals in three successive games for the Rams.

Meanwhile Sean St Ledger is edging closer to a return to full fitness with Leicester City and was almost pressed into action in an emergency situation on Saturday.

The 28-year-old has not played for club or country in 16 weeks due to a long-standing groin injury, and St Ledger has spent time in Munich receiving specialist treatment. His club were planning to ease St Ledger back into first team duties and hoped to see him back in the Foxes side within a month, but boss Nigel Pearson was forced to consider playing St Ledger on Saturday against Middlesbrough.

A heavy snowfall and traffic problems caused chaos ahead of the Foxes' game on Saturday and an hour before kickoff, Pearson had only nine players at the stadium, so St Ledger was told to prepare for the prospect of playing in the match, but some of the squad managed to make it to the ground on foot and the Ireland international was not needed.

"I was a little bit worried that they could have their full complement of players here before us," said Pearson.

"A lot of our players and staff found it difficult to get here. Some of our lads ditched their cars and ran."

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