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Monday 5 December 2016

Mac boost for Greens

McClean looks set to play role as Irish plot to keep unbeaten run

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill

James McClean is winning his battle to be fit to face Austria in the Ernst Happel Stadium tonight.

The West Brom winger's aching back has eased considerably after a big effort by Martin O'Neill's physio team.

"James is improving greatly thankfully. He was in a great lot of discomfort over last weekend but he came to us on Monday and after a lot of good work, much of it by James himself, he is pretty good," said the Ireland boss.

"He didn't do a great deal but he trained on Thursday and he did more last night. If that is the case then he will declare himself fit. He is recovering and that it is good."

O'Neill has been flagging all week that he expects a tough fight from the Austrians tonight (5.0).

"I think they are a very good side. They have come home from the Euros very disappointed because they would have expected to do a lot better than they did."

O'Neill would happily take a draw from the game and head into the winter break unbeaten in the group, a huge achievement after playing three games away from home.

"If we remain unbeaten, let's say over the Christmas period and into March, that would naturally give us a boost; there's no question about that," he added.

"Any point away from home in international football or club football or European football is still considered, even by the very best sides, to be a good result. Our destiny, though, will be decided in 2017," said O'Neill.

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