Ireland are sweating on the fitness of Robbie Keane however the LA Galaxy forward will be given every opportunity to prove he is ready to lead the line for the vitally important clash with Armenia.
Ireland’s record goal scoring with 51 goals is currently struggling with an adductor muscle injury, more commonly known as a groin injury and he could be sidelined for up to a fortnight
However Ireland’s assistant manager Marco Tardelli has said that Ireland are prepared to wait on their talisman: “Robbie has a little problem, but we are hopeful he will recover. It will be very difficult, but we are hopeful.
“It’s the same problem he had after the last match in Los Angeles.
“Yesterday, he had a scan and he has a little problem – a big problem, not a little problem.”
“There is very little possibility that he will recover, but we are hopeful.”
Jon Walters, Shane Long and Simon Cox are the leading contenders to replace Keane should he be ruled out and all three have impressed for club and when called upon for Country, although Tardelli was giving nothing away as to who they would pick to partner Kevin Doyle.
“We have many options. We have Walters, Long, Cox – we have many options.
“We are confident in all our players. We have different solutions, but we will wait and see tomorrow.”
Ireland will be boosted by the return of Richard Dunne, who is back after suspension and the Aston Villa should return to the centre of defence.
The return of Dunne will ease the loss of Stephen Ward who misses out through suspension, with John O’Shea expected to move to left back with Stephen Kelly tipped to replace the Sunderland man at right back.