ROBBIE Keane's injury was flagged by Giovanni Trapattoni in his |after-match press conference in Andorra but it fell to Marco Tardelli to deliver a more definitive view in Portmarnock.
“If he had to play a game today, no Robbie would not be fit but we are hopeful and we will wait as long as possible. He deserves that,” said Tardelli but his body language told us that Keane would not be fit in time.
“It is the same problem that he arrived here with after the last match with Los Angeles. It is better to speak with the doctor about the exact nature of it. It's a problem with his leg and the scan said that the injury is at the back of the thigh. He won't train.”
Tardelli highlighted defence as a weakness in the Armenian make-up but warned about their ability in midfield and the potency of the threat caused by their counter attack.
“It is possible we can trouble them physically at set pieces. Armenia have a little problem in defence, that is true. But they play well in the midfield and upfront and everything is possible. We will try with the header, with feet, everything!”
Asked whether he felt Ireland’s remarkable eight-game clean sheet run is more impressive than the growing scale of Armenia's scoring run, he gave a surprising answer – in favour of the opposition.
“Maybe it is more impressive that they have scored many goals. Against Russia, they played very well away and they scored. They were 1-0 and the referee disallowed the goal for |2-0. They are very fast on the counter attack and we must be careful and patient.”
The main architect of Ireland’s tremendous defensive run, Richard Dunne, is back after suspension and Tardelli is happy to welcome him back.
“Richard Dunne is very important for our team and gives young players experience so we are happy you have him back,” he said.
“Ward is suspended and it is important Richard plays for us.”