Robbie Brady backed as Harry Arter injury disappoints
MARTIN O'Neill is backing Robbie Brady to deliver the goods, literally, for Ireland against Scotland at the Aviva.
The Ireland manager was impressed with Brady's set-piece delivery against England and will ask for more of the same. He doesn't want a repeat of Poland.
"Well those were excellent on Sunday but we weren't so clever against Poland. We either over-hit or under-hit.," claimed O'Neill.
"But I've got no doubt that Robbie Brady is capable of dealing with those situations.
"Somebody asked me the question was that because it was just a friendly, but I think Robbie is capable of dealing with that under pressure.
"He has played very well in the games and introduced himself against the USA and has gone on since then," he said.
"I've a lot of time for Stephen Ward (pictured) as a player. as a person, really great and competition for places is no bad thing. Robbie can play in a number of positions which is great for us and takes most things in his stride.
"He doesn't seem to get too perturbed by things. Stephen at this minute would be more of a left-back but can get forward himself and is no mean footballer."
O'Neill will not write off the qualification attempt if the worst comes to pass against Scotland but winning is the only result he is considering at the moment.
"Eventually you come to a stage where you come to crunch matches and this is very important.
"You don't want Scotland to get too far ahead of ourselves and give ourselves a mountain to climb for the last four matches.
"It would be important to win the game and we'll be right there. If we lose the game, the gap with only four matches left, it becomes difficult. But there will be a few twists and turns until you complete the group. We have some home matches and we want to take advantage of that."
O'Neill reported continuing progress from John O'Shea, Wes Hoolahan and Jon Walters and it looks like he will have all his key men fit and ready apart, perhaps from Robbie Keane.
"John trained this morning which is great and he's feeling much, much better. He felt a bit uncomfortable on Monday but he trained and he's okay."
"Both Wes and Jon are fine, absolutely. They've done a little bit today. It's early yet but they haven't complained."
Harry Arter is likely to miss out on the big day because of injury.
"Harry Arter didn't train today. He has a hip problem and a groin and is away to be assessed. It's a shame because when he came on, I thought he had did very well indeed (v England) and he is starting to grow into this I think.
"Naturally in the course of the next few months his time with Bournemouth in the Premier Division will stand him in good stead," said O'Neill.
"I'm a wee bit disappointed that he's picked up this injury but we'll see how it goes over the next few days."
rep of ireland team news