Football: McCarthy delays naming Republic side
Wednesday 21 May 1997
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."
Latest in Sport
Phil Jagielka: I may never win back England place, says Everton defender
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, Gareth Bale says he hopes to return to Tottenham 'one day'
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...