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Green shoots

ANTHONY PILKINGTON is the proud owner of a new Irish passport and will make his bow in green against Poland on February 6.

And there's big news for promising Derby County midfielder Jeff Hendrick who has been rewarded for some fine from in the Championship with a call-up to Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad.

Hendrick caught the eye with a run of three goals in three successive games for the Rams.

Pilkington qualifies for citizenship through his maternal grandmother, who was born in Dublin.

Born in Blackburn, he spent time at Preston, Manchester United and Blackburn as a youth player, before going on to carve a career for himself at Norwich.

Trapattoni had to cancel the squad announcement scheduled for today because of the death of his sister, aged 81.

Sister Romilde Trapattoni passed away in the early hours of this morning following a long illness.