Sleepless night and jet lag no issue for keeper Doyle
Ireland goalkeeper Colin Doyle has turned the whole idea of match preparation on its head as he coped with an arduous journey back from Ireland duty, and less than two hours' sleep, to deliver for his club.
It was a big deal for Bradford City when Doyle (32) started in goal for Ireland in Friday's 1-0 friendly defeat away to Turkey, the Cork native only the seventh player to win a senior cap while on the books of League One's Bradford City.
The former Birmingham City man was keen to keep his place in the side with a promotion-chasing City and even though that meant playing for his club less than 24 hours after featuring in Antalya, he was happy to do so, especially as Doyle kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Gillingham, ending a run of 11 games without a win.
"It was pleasing and if we keep a few more clean sheets between now and the end of the season I might have to do a few more return trips to Turkey," Doyle joked.
The keeper had a busy week as he played for Bradford on Monday night, flew to Turkey on Tuesday for the training camp, was named in the starting XI on Friday, played 90 minutes against the Turks, and then began that trip home.
"When we played on Friday it was 8.30pm over there, 5.30pm over here. We flew straight away, 1.30am over there, flew to Zargeb to stop and refuel the plane, then went again and flew to Dublin, landed in Dublin at 5am," Doyle explained.
"I got back to the hotel, had a bit of breakfast, back to the airport and at 8am flew to Leeds/Bradford. I got home around 10am, I had maybe an hour and a half's kip, went and played 90 minutes, got the win and the clean sheet.
"I phoned the (Bradford) manager after the Ireland game and said I wanted to play on the Saturday. He had said to wait and see how I felt, but I was buzzing after the Ireland game. It was disappointing result, but I was still happy to come and play.
"He said to see how I was physically in the morning, you could play 90 minutes but then sit on a plane for seven hours and seize up. But when I was on the plane I was getting up and down, moving my legs so I didn't stiffen up, and I felt fine on Saturday morning," Doyle added.
"I came in half an hour before the other lads to get a rubdown off the physio, try to get my legs going, and it was fine. It was only in the last 20 minutes of the game that I started to get some twinges in my calf."
That win pushed Bradford up to ninth in the table and despite that three-month run without a win, they are still in with a chance of promotion. City are four points off the final playoff place which is currently occupied by Peterborough United.
Doyle's appearance in Antalya ended a 10-year wait for his second senior cap and with Keiren Westwood and Rob Elliot currently sidelined by injury, he will hope to stay in the frame for the France and USA games in May/June, depending on Bradford's play-off position.