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Monday 18 December 2017

O'Neill: I'll settle for any win

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill speaks during a press conference. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill speaks during a press conference. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Martin O'Neill says he'll settle for a scrappy win in Georgia next Saturday to keep Ireland's World Cup bid on track.

The Republic's squad, minus the injured midfield trio of Jeff Hendrick, James McCarthy and Eunan O'Kane, have started preparations for the upcoming double-header.

That kicks off with that test in Tbilisi, with temperatures of 36 degrees forecast between now and Saturday's game.

O'Neill knows that goal difference could prove vital for qualification, more important than head-to-head record.

But instead of demanding a goal-fest in Georgia, he's hoping for any sort of win to take the side into next week's home date with Serbia.

"Three wins out of four doesn't even guarantee you anything. This is the tough end of it now. We've given ourselves a chance, that's all, and two games in three days will be defining moments," says O'Neill.

"I would take any win against Georgia. This idea of talking about racking up goals . . . we are not a team that racks up a lot of goals.

"Just try win the game, that is the only thing we should think about. The results will take care of themselves after that. If you are eventually done on goal difference or something then you would have to consider yourself unlucky," added O'Neill.

The Ireland boss hopes to have Jon Walters fit for the Tbilisi test and there is a chance that Jeff Hendrick, absent for Saturday, could be fit in time for the Serbia game.

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