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Martin O’Neill says the real work starts now as he prepares for the Republic of Ireland's friendly against Poland, in Poznan. Photo by: Google Images

Poland will present a stiffer test for new look Ireland, admits Martin O’Neill

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Martin O’Neill says the real work starts now as he prepares for the Republic of Ireland's friendly against Poland, in Poznan. Photo by: Google Images

New Ireland boss Martin O’Neill says the real work starts now as he prepares for Tuesday night’s friendly against Poland in Poznan.

Captain Robbie Keane will start the game on the bench as he rests an Achilles problem that may require surgery next month.

Keane scored in Friday night’s 3-0 win for Ireland against Latvia in O’Neill’s first game in charge.

But the new boss knows Poland will be different proposition altogether as Ireland return to the scene of one of their Euro 2012 disappointments.

O’Neill, who won’t announce his team until an hour before kick-off, said: “Listen, genuinely there’s loads of things to work on. We have things to do.

“We won a game on Friday night and I thought we played very well. But no, we have loads of things to work on and I think tonight will show that.

“Please, it’s not me putting a dampener on things. It was great to win the game, but this was one match and, at friendly level, it’s a game we would have been expected to win.

“We did it in a fine manner and that’s gone. Now we pass on to Poland, a totally different thing. Poland have always had some very, very fine players. It will be very difficult for us.”

Poland lost 2-0 to Slovakia in a friendly on Friday night but even that result isn’t filling O’Neill with confidence.

He said: “They are a very fine side. It’s only just a few weeks ago since they went to Wembley still in with a World Cup chance, and in fairness they missed a couple of great chances in that game at Wembley that might have changed the outlook of the game.

“It will be very difficult for us, it will be difficult, but it’s a game we are looking forward to.”

Skipper Robbie Keane will not start the game as he prepares to see a specialist over an Achilles problem which could require surgery.

Ireland lost to both Croatia and Italy in Poznan at Euro 2012, but Keane told Irish state broadcaster RTE at the pre-match press conference those games are already consigned to the history bins.

Keane said: “The memories for all the players involved in the Euros weren’t good. But we can’t dwell too much on what happened in the past.

“It’s a new start for everybody, a new management team that’s come into place. Everybody’s now looking forward.

“I think you’ve seen the response since the appointment. The whole nation has been very happy and that’s what we want as players. But ultimately it’s up to us on the field to get wins and keep that buzz around Ireland.”

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