Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni will refuse to use his injury nightmare as an excuse ahead of Friday’s big World Cup qualifier against Germany at the Aviva Stadium.
Glenn Whelan, Richard Dunne, Kevin Doyle, Sean St. Ledger and James McClean are all out of the Dublin fixture thanks to injury.
Trap has called in Manchester United youngster Robbie Brady, Sunderland midfielder David Meyler and Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark ahead of the game.
Trapattoni said, “We are missing five players, but I am confident about the quality we have, and two or three players have grown a little bit in personality.
“I am optimistic because I know the German players, I know their attitude, their quality, but we also have a little bit of that quality and discipline. I am confident about this.”
Whelan, St. Ledger and McClean were all ruled out on Monday, although McClean could return to the squad ahead of Tuesday’s trip to play the Faroe Islands in Torshavn.
Trapattoni said, “Glenn is a big loss to us because nobody else really plays in his exact position.
“We have Keith Andrews, we have also James McCarthy and Keith Fahey, but they are a little bit different.
“McCarthy is fast, David Meyler is tall, which could be important against this opponent and Keith Fahey is also good technically. They have different qualities.
“It's the start of the season and we have fresh energy. It's not March or April, the players are fresh.
“In spring, it usually goes down, but now we have energy. I have said to the players we must give 100 percent energy. Only with this can we confront Germany.”
Trapattoni has hinted that he will play a 4-3-3 formation against the Germans, with Robbie Keane flanked by Aiden McGeady and Jonathon Walters or Simon Cox upfront.
James McCarthy, Keith Andrews and Keith Fahey are likely to make up the Irish midfield on Friday night.
Trap said, “Sure Robbie will start, we need his personality. Another is McGeady and we also have Walters and Cox. We need them to keep the ball.
“They can play on the wing but Long is only a striker. He is fast and strong but it is better if we use him off the bench and the changes will be very important in this game.
“Kevin Doyle is a fantastic example. He was on the bench in Kazakhstan but he scored a goal. An intelligent player can wait for their moment. The manager has no sons. I just wish to win like you and the rest of the country.”
Celtic Beats Hearts
GEORGIOS Samaras scored the only goal as Celtic beat Hearts 1-0 on Sunday to maintain their position at the top of the Scottish Premier Division table.
Manager Neil Lennon was delighted with the win, just days after his team’s impressive Champions League victory away to Spartak Moscow.
“The players have put in a massive effort this week and you could see that fatigue was starting to kick in a bit towards the end,” Lennon said.
“Having to use a substitute early for Charlie Mulgrew wasn’t the way we wanted things to go because we knew that later on in the game fatigue would set in.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the players, it’s a brilliant effort. I’m not saying we were at our best by any means but we created brilliant chances and could have put Hearts away a lot earlier than we did.”
There was good news for Lennon off the pitch as well as youngster James Forrest, Adam Matthews and Charlie Mulgrew all signed long term extensions to their Celtic contracts.
“I had another three years left on my contract but that’s me here for another four years now so I’m delighted,” said Forrest.
“I have been here since I was nine. I have always wanted to play for Celtic and I want to continue playing for Celtic.
“Most of the players have been here for the last two seasons now. We are gelling well and I think we are playing really well now.
“The squad is pretty young and the more games we play together, I think the better the team will get.
You want to play in the Champions League and Celtic have been in that a lot for the last 10 years so I want to stay at Celtic.”
GERMAN manager Joachim Loew has called up Hamburg defender Heinko Westermann to replace the injured Mat Hummels in his squad to play Ireland on Friday.
“We know what kind of atmosphere is awaiting us in Dublin. The Irish are going to try everything to beat us before their fans,” Loew said.
“It’s not a given that we’ll win every qualifying match, but we’d like to go into the winter break with six more points.
“We have already laid the foundations for the qualification, but now it gets very serious.”
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger returns to the squad after being left out for last month’s wins over the Faroe Islands and Austria because of poor form.
Loew added, “It was always clear that Bastian would be back in the team against Ireland and Sweden. Last time, we did not include him so that he would have the chance to get back into a full training and match rhythm in piece.
“His performances with Bayern Munich have showed that was the right decision and that he has used this time to his advantage.”
ST. Patrick’s Athletic booked their place in the FAI Cup final with a 3-0 win at Dundalk on Sunday while Shelbourne and Derry City drew 2-2 in the second semi-final at the Brandywell . . .
HIBERNIAN’S Irish defender Gary Deegan faces a month on the sidelines after he had his jaw broken in an unprovoked late night attack in Edinburgh city center over the weekend . . .
HULL City defender Alex Bruce has switched allegiances from the Republic to Northern Ireland and could feature in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier away to Portugal . . .
SLIGO Rovers can clinch the Airtricity Premier Division title with a win at home to St. Patrick’s Athletic on Saturday after drawing 0-0 at Cork City last weekend . . .
LIMERICK wrapped up the Airtricity First Division title and promotion to the Premier at the weekend after Waterford United went down to Mervue United . . .
SHAMROCK Rovers should qualify for European football next season after beating Bray 3-1 away to boost their Premier Division standing . . .
IRISH striker Robbie Keane grabbed 15th goal of the season for LA Galaxy on Saturday as they lost 2-1 to Real Salt Lake . . .
DUBLIN-born Wolves defender Matt Doherty has joined League One side Bury on loan until the end of the year . . .
IRELAND’S under-17 girls team have qualified for the second round of the European Championships . . .
IRELAND have dropped to 28th in the latest FIFA world rankings.