THANKFULLY there is still some time for things to happen before Ireland take on Armenia in Yerevan next month, but right now the striking positions are a cause for concern for Giovanni Trapattoni as he officially got back to work as Ireland boss today following his release from hospital yesterday.
ROBBIE KEANE is first name on the teamsheet for Trapattoni but the new season has not started so well for the Ireland captain, as he's been only a sub in both games so far for Tottenham, including last night's disappointing Champions League defeat in Switzerland.
KEVIN DOYLE missed last week's season opener for Wolves against Stoke but there is some good news here as Mick McCarthy expects his record signing to be fit for action against Everton on Saturday.
The newest kid on the block in senior terms is
CILLIAN SHERIDAN but his club season has yet to kick off as this week Sheridan started his new life with CSKA Sofia, and it's not been an easy start as their manager was fired on Monday, Sheridan's transfer fee and wage packet adding to the pressure on the Irishman to deliver. LEON BEST has not kicked a ball for Newcastle yet this season and there are fears that injury could rule him out of action for up to three months. We have also yet to see CALEB FOLAN in action for Hull and his future appears to lie elsewhere as a number of clubs are linked with the ex-Wigan man.
That leaves SHANE LONG as the only Ireland striker in England who has played any real football this season as he started for Reading on the opening day of the season but he missed their last two games due to injury and is a concern, but there are signs from NOEL HUNT, who was so effective as sub against Italy away, that he's close to fitness again after 10 months out.
All those worries could hasten the promotion of ANTHONY STOKES, who has played in the SPL and Europa League for Hibs this season and impressed with his two-goal tally for the Irish U21s against Estonia last week. Stokes has yet to play for Ireland under Trapattoni but that could change very soon.