Football: Branagan gets Republic call-up

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KEITH BRANAGAN, the Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper, has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad for Wednesday's friendly against the Czech Republic. He replaces Sheffield United's Alan Kelly, who suffered a groin injury during Saturday's draw with Manchester City.

Newcastle United's Shay Given is likely to start the game, his 15th international appearance, but Branagan, who won his only previous cap against Wales in February last year, is likely to be used at some stage.

Niall Quinn is also missing after limping out of Sunderland's 2-1 victory over Portsmouth on Saturday with an ankle problem, but the Republic manager, Mick McCarthy, is not likely to call up anyone else, which could mean a young strike partnership of Wolves' Robbie Keane and Damien Duff of Blackburn.

Craig Brown's hopes of fielding a strong side in Scotland's World Cup warm-up game against Denmark on Wednesday have also been hit by injury. Kevin Gallacher, John Collins, Matt Elliott and David Hopkin have all been ruled out of the Ibrox match and Brown may call up some of his B squad, who face Wales the previous evening at Clyde's Broadwood stadium.

Both squads will assemble today in Glasgow, while the Under-21s, who also meet Denmark in a friendly tomorrow at Stirling, were joined yesterday by Gavin Strachan, son of the Coventry manager and former Scotland international Gordon.

Fulham pair Paul Trollope and Alan Neilson have been called into the Welsh squad for Wednesday's meeting with Jamaica at Ninian Park. Bobby Gould has lost five of his original squad, plus one from the stand-by group, through injury.