Horgan: 'You just make sure you're ready'
Daryl Horgan admits it's a big leap to try and break into the Ireland side for the final two games of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
But the Preston player, still waiting for his season to ignite at club level, says the fact that Martin O'Neill has thrown some surprises in his team selections to date gives him hope that he can force his way in and insists that he will be ready to make his competitive debut if asked.
The biggest shock of late under O'Neill was the selection of Kevin Long to play in defence at home to Austria in the summer, but with players needed to fill in for the absent Robbie Brady, James McClean and Jon Walters, squad players like Horgan are hoping to get the nod, though it's not easy to win over the manager's trust in the space of a few days' training in Dublin.
"I suppose it is quite difficult as he has general idea of all the players he has brought in and out and that he knows," says Horgan.
"You just put the head down and work hard, you try and make things happen.
"The manager's keeping an eye on players and knows how they are and how they are doing.
"You want to come in and try match the form you've had or try show that you're a better player than what's been happening at club level.
"That's the only thing. It is quite difficult as it's a short space of time and he knows the boys so well, but you never know, you just make sure you're ready," added the Galway lad, who made his debut as a sub for Jonny Hayes at home to Iceland in March and then earned his first start against Mexico in the summer.
With O'Neill's eyes on the players in training and his mind not yet made up on his team, Horgan is aware of the need for focus.
"You approach it like you want to play, you work as hard as you possibly can, you may be a bit out in the pecking order with the manager but he has done it before, put in players who hadn't played, and I will be ready to play if it comes," he says, although the season to date at Preston has been frustrating.
"There is that element of keeping the head and keeping focused and that's something I have to do, you can't throw the toys out of the pram because everyone is in the same boat, everyone is working hard for that but I will keep working away so when an opportunity comes I am ready and can try to stay in the team."