herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Trap facing tough calls

Duff dilemma for Russia game

ALL present and correct. Giovanni Trapattoni heaved a sigh of relief, counted his key men through the door and settled down to solve a set of prickly selection problems.

Who will he pick from Damien Duff, Aiden McGeady and Liam Lawrence for Russia and Slovakia and is Keith Andrews fit enough to start in either game?

Duff caused the only major injury scare at the weekend when he limped off 20 minutes before the end of West Ham's draw with Fulham and will be fully assessed in the Irish camp over the next few days.

For Trapattoni, this is the first time he's had enough players in one position to cause a selection dilemma. McGeady continued to impress for Spartak Moscow yesterday with another eye-catching performance over 90 minutes in a 1-0 win home win over Anzhi Makhachkala.

If Duff is passed fit, Trapattoni will almost certainly pair him with McGeady on the wings and consign Lawrence to the bench.

Lawrence has begun his Portsmouth career with a bang and has now hit four goals in seven games, including a penalty which helped spark a Pompey revival against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

He had to hold his nerve in the face of pointed heckling to secure the draw.

"The goalkeeper was playing mind games with me. He told me he had seen my penalty on the TV. He said: 'I've seen where you put yours. I know where you're going'," said Lawrence.

"I didn't know what I was going to do until I placed the ball but I thought if I get enough power behind it, it is going to go in. So I went straight down the middle," he said with a satisfied grin.

Trapattoni's only other major injury concern was Richard Dunne, who came through Aston Villa's defeat by Spurs unscathed.

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