Football: McCarthy delays naming Republic side

Watford's David Connolly and Mark Kennedy of Liverpool passed fitness tests yesterday, but the Republic of Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy, has delayed naming his team for the World Cup Group Eight qualifier against Liechtenstein in Dublin until just before kick-off.

Connolly, who strained a thigh in the warm-up for Pat Bonner's testimonial match on Sunday, believes he will be fit for the game, as does Kennedy, who is equally confident of his own chances despite some discomfort with a groin strain.

However, McCarthy sounded a note of caution yesterday, saying: "I won't take any chances. We will see if there is any reaction. But if they are both OK it will very difficult to make changes apart from the enforced ones after a good performance against Romania last month."

The Irish suffered a 1-0 defeat to the group leaders in Bucharest, but it was a vastly improved display from the 3-2 defeat in Macedonia three weeks earlier and they can climb to second place in the table with a three- goal win tonight.

The upsurge of confidence has prompted the Football Association of Ireland to discuss a two-year extension of McCarthy's contract which is due to expire in March.

Blackburn's Jeff Kenna is set to replace Manchester United's injured full-back Denis Irwin, after substituting impressively for him for the second half in Bucharest. Shay Given, Kenna's team-mate who is set for a pounds 2m move to Newcastle in the summer, will win his ninth cap in goal in place of the injured Alan Kelly.

Portsmouth's Alan McLoughlin is available after suspension, but is unlikely to regain a midfield place with the central trio looking certain to be Ray Houghton of Crystal Palace, United's Roy Keane and Andy Townsend of Aston Villa.

The Irish beat Liechtenstein 5-0 in Eschen in August and tonight's visitors are still without a point in the group.

However, McCarthy said: "They will take great delight in trying to make things as difficult as possible for us. They will come with a deep defence and try to quieten our crowd by frustrating us for as long as possible - the kind of thing we enjoyed doing when we went away to supposedly superior sides in Jack Charlton's days as manager - and so we can expect to have to work for anything we get."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf