GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI will wait as long as it takes for Richard Dunne to get back to match fitness, but he has a job in mind for his best defender.
"I spoke with Richard and I told him clearly that March is what we're looking for and it's important he is available for the threat of Ibrahimovic. I told him to take it step by step. Richard said that's okay, I'll see you in March," claimed Trapattoni.
"But it still hasn't been decided 100 per cent whether he'll be back for Poland. It could be we'll leave him out and keep him safe for March. It's similar to what Paul Lambert was saying. It's a little bit early and dangerous also."
Trapattoni is ready to push the change agenda further than he did for the friendly against Greece and that should mean game time for Anthony Pilkington, Jeff Hendrick, Richard Keogh and Conor Sammon.
"I think we can start off looking at Pilkington," he said. "He'll definitely get some game time. The second person I'd like to give some game time to is Sammon and the third is Hendrick.
"In terms of Richard Keogh at centre-half, we'll look at it during the week and make a decision on that basis. He certainly looks promising and we'll see him in closer quarters during the week.
"I actually think that Hoolahan and Sammon, without any disrespect to Grant Holt, Sammon is better. He has more technical characteristics. He's quicker and more agile and I think the link play between the two could be better and more exciting than what you see in the existing set-up at Norwich.
"We'll see. But I think Sammon and Hoolahan could offer a very interesting combination.
"This match (against Poland) will determine a lot," Trapattoni said. "As I've said we have alternatives in every position and there's a number of players who will be looking to impress.
"The response they give will be important to show they're up to the pressures and responsibilities of wearing the Irish jersey on international duty. It's not really about the individuals in terms of the names. It's to see what they can do and what they can give us on the pitch."
Darron Gibson remains out of the running as far as Trap is concerned.
"I sent him Christmas and New Year's greetings," Trapattoni said, "but I think he might have changed numbers. We're checking with the International Department." The reporters shook their heads in empathy. They know the feeling.