Football: Quinn ready for return

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NIALL QUINN is set to follow his impressive comeback for the Republic of Ireland in Latvia on Wednesday with a return to Manchester City's starting line-up.

After setting up two goals in the Republic's 3-0 European Championship qualifying victory he is likely to start his first league game in more than 10 months against Crystal Palace at Maine Road on Saturday.

Quinn, who has been out since last November when he ruptured a cruciate knee ligament and missed the World Cup, said: 'It's the moment I have waited for. A lot of people doubted that I was fit but Jack Charlton had faith in me and I hope I repaid him. I also just hope that word has got back to Brian Horton.'

The Manchester City manager has used Quinn only briefly as a substitute in City's four games this season but with their German striker, Uwe Rosler, suspended this weekend after being sent off against Arsenal on the opening day of the season, Quinn should get his chance.

'It looks like I will take his place,' Quinn said. 'And I am ready. It's been wonderful to put that injury nightmare behind me.'

Even Charlton was surprised how well Quinn did. 'I didn't think he would be that strong yet but he's put on a stone with weight training in his recovery programme and it's great to have him back.'

His co-striker John Alridge benefited from the return of his partner with two goals that flattened the second-rate Latvians and he will be looking for his 11th goal in just nine games this season when Tranmere take on Wolves at Molineux on Saturday.

Next up for the Republic are another of the Group Six minnows, Liechtenstein, in Dublin next month but Charlton said his team would have to work just as hard as they did against Latvia.' We need six points in the bank before we face Northern Ireland in Belfast in November. But already I am convinced we've got a great chance of qualifying.'