STEPHEN Ward is hopeful of a new beginning for the international team this year, having said goodbye to a dismal year in 2012.
Ward, who had been a regular under Giovanni Trapattoni, was one of those to suffer in the fallout from the 6-1 defeat to Germany as he was dropped for the World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands, but the Wolves man reclaimed his place in the side for the friendly against Greece in November and the ex-Bohemians man hopes for more action against Poland next month as a warm-up to that crucial qualifier away to Sweden in March.
"We're looking forward to a new year of international football. We know that 2012 wasn't great for us but if we can get back to where we were at the start of the year, hard to beat and well organised, then we can get back to the top again," says Ward.
"It's been hard for a lot of us, but I just want to get back in.
"I was happy to get back in for the Greece match at the end of the year and if I can do well for my club I can push my way back into the manager's plans."