| 9.7°C Dublin

Poles targetting win in Tbilisi test

POLAND coach Adam Nawalka has told his table-topping group of players that they will have to follow the example of Ireland and Scotland and work hard for a win against Georgia tonight.

Surprise leaders of Group D thanks to their stunning win at home to Germany, the Poles face their last test of the campaign in 2014 with a trip to Tbilisi tonight.

Georgia manager Temuri Ketsbaia has promised to resign no matter what happens against Poland - a big statement for the former Newcastle United hero as he is one of the longest-serving national team bosses in Europe having held the post since 2009.

After tonight's games, Poland's next fixture is a tricky trip to Dublin next March so the pressure is on Nawalka to get a result in Tbilisi and make sure that the Poles go into 2015 as group leaders.

And the experienced Nawalka says that the Georgian squad will not back off from battle tonight because it's their manager's last game. "I simply don't believe that the Georgian players will stop fighting because of their coach's decision," says Nawalka, who has done his homework by watching Ireland's narrow win in Tbilisi at the start of the group.

"They showed in the matches against Scotland and Ireland that they are hard to beat, and that they are very ambitious.

"They lost those games by one goal, and we all know how difficult is to play here. I don't need to motivate my players - they are very motivated and aware of the fact that we are on the right path.

"I have believed in my mission since very beginning and nothing has changed. With all respect to Georgia, we are here to grab three points."

Georgia showed promise at times under Ketsbaia but have struggled in this campaign with the win over Gibraltar their only success so far.

"No matter the result against Poland I will leave the team," says Ketsbaia.

"If we win, lose or draw, my decision will not change, this will be my last game with out national team."

Exposed

Poland have seen their side score freely in the campaign - 11 goals in three games is pretty impressive - and the fans and the media in Warsaw will expect more goals in Tbilisi but Nawalka has preached caution.

"We cannot just attack them for 90 minutes, in football you gave to play well in all areas of the pitch and we cannot leave ourselves exposed at the back," he said.

"We will try to take the initiative from the start but that will not be easy, Georgia are at home and they have good players who can cause us problems so we will have to be wary, but we have to aim for the win."

Captain Robert Lewandowski come into the game on form with his club Bayern Munich but he too takes the party line in preaching caution against a Georgia side who have conceded three goals in the two main games so far, against Ireland and Scotland. "We have tio prepare well, I hope it is us who will put pressure on the Georgians and not the other way around," says Lewandowski. "But the aim has to be the three points in this game."

While Ireland have an advantage in the group by having - by the final whistle tomorrow night - three of the main away games out of the way (Georgia, Germany and Scotland), Poland have a tough streak of away games. They have Georgia away tonight, Ireland away in March, a tie at home to Georgia next June and after that a very testing night in Germany, in September.

Afitzmaurice@herald.ie


Privacy