A NUMBER OF players are back in contention, as Noel King announced the Ireland squad for the UEFA U21 Championship qualifying Group Seven fixtures with Hungary and Italy earlier today
Jeff Hendrick, Adam Barton, Sean Murray, Samir Carruthers and Rhys Murphy are all set to return after missing the side’s recent loss to Turkey.
Speaking ahead of the games, King emphasised the importance of securing six points:
“We have two games to go in our group and the simple facts are that if we win the two of them we’ll get at least second place and hopefully that will secure a playoff place,” said King.
“We can’t concentrate on the Italy game until we’ve dealt with Hungary. We’ve beaten Hungary before in Sligo so we go there knowing that we are capable of winning the match.
“Of course there was disappointment after our defeat by Turkey last time out. Overall the performance was good and we played well in sections of the game but we conceded a late goal. We have to pick ourselves up now and travel with a positive mindset.
“What has been positive is that a lot of our lads have five or six more games under the belt since the Turkey game and will be sharper. Fitness wasn’t an excuse for the loss to Turkey but it will definitely be helpful that the lads are a bit further into their season.”
The Irish squad travel to Kecskemét in Hungary on 6 September, before facing Italy in Casarano four days later.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND U21 squad: Ian McLoughlin (MK Dons), Aaron McCarey (Wolves), John Egan (Sunderland), Greg Cunningham (Bristol City), Rob Kiernan (Wigan Athletic), Shane Duffy (Everton), Niall Canavan (Scunthorpe), Richie Towell (Unattached), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Adam Barton (Coventry City), Conor Henderson (Arsenal), Conor Clifford (Chelsea), Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa), Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth), Sean Murray (Watford), Robbie Brady (Manchester United), Aidan White (Leeds United), Sean Scannell (Huddersfield Town), Rhys Murphy (SC Telstar), James Collins (Swindon Town).