Football: Aldridge aims to complicate plans

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The Independent Online
JOHN ALDRIDGE will be provided tomorrow with the opportunity to add another complicating factor to Jack Charlton's final World Cup plans when the Republic of Ireland face the Czech Republic before a sell-out Dublin audience eager to give them a rousing send-off to the United States.

In their three previous preparatory games, which brought wins over the Netherlands, Bolivia and Germany, Charlton employed a lone striker, firstly Tommy Coyne and then Tony Cascarino, who in Hanover last weekend fired the Irish to one of the finest victories in their history with a soaring header.

If Charlton, who flies to Italy today for a last check on Ireland's first World Cup opponents who are in action against Switzerland, is to persist with the formation it seems certain to be to Aldridge's detriment. The Tranmere marksman, Ireland's top scorer over the qualifying campaign, would not claim to have the mobility, the assured touch or the staying power to be as effective up front on his own. The exhausting chore is more suited to Cascarino, who has aerial dominance, or Coyne, who, apart from possessing superior technical ability, has the capacity to run all day.

The Czech match will be an emotional occasion for Packie Bonner, who, on his 73rd appearance, overtakes Liam Brady as Ireland's most capped player.

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