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Thursday 8 December 2016

O'Neill: Walters and Hoolahan ready for England and Scotland

MARTIN O'Neill is satisfied that Wes Hoolahan (right) and John Walters will both be fit and available in time for Sunday's friendly against England at the Aviva Stadium.

"Well, I'm hoping that both will be okay. I think the indications are that they will be. Jon is off looking at things for the minute. He's been carrying this knee problem for a little while, and so is Wes," he said.

"The indications are that both are going to be okay. I might have different news tomorrow. but I expect them to be available for both games."

O'Neill believes that his rusty players are making progress and in Stephen Ward's case, strength and fitness are growing by the day. "Stephen's has been excellent. I didn't really know him before here. He's keen, he's well," said the Ireland boss.

"The last time for Poland he wasn't fit enough anyway. Brady came in, did very well in the game. As each training session goes on, he's getting fitter. He hasn't had much game time for Burnley, primarily because of injury."

O'Neill had Aiden McGeady in his mind when he laid his plans for the two week preparation for Scotland after a poor enough season in terms of his involvement with Everton as a match starter.

He said: "These games are very important for him and some of these things were scheduled in with Aiden in mind. The fact is that he got very little game time with Everton towards the end of the season. I think that he came into the last game maybe not at his fittest and sometimes that might show with anyone, to be perfectly honest. But he has been a match winner for us and he's still very, very important to us."

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