The Republic of Ireland coach Brian Kerr has promised to field a strong side in tonight's Lansdowne Road friendly against Australia as his side prepare for next month's crucial European Championship qualifying games against Russia and Switzerland.
Kerr was pleasantly surprised that withdrawals from the squad have been restricted to Steven Reid and Lee Carsley. His only involuntary change is likely to be in goal with the Stockport goalkeeper Nick Colgan set to get his first start. Kerr said: "Nick has been working hard with the group and as the current No 2 we need him to have some experience. I want Nick to start, although I am sure Shay Given will also play some part."
The Australia coach, Frank Farina, has promised he will not alter his side's vigorous approach to friendlies, which secured a 3-1 win over England last February. Farina said: "Ireland are a very good team. We've got a big monster around our neck after beating England and we must feed that monster by always getting good results."
Kerr acknowledged: "Their approach to the England game was top class. They played with great pride and passion, but I think we can match that."
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD (v Australia, Dublin, tonight): Given (Newcastle), Colgan (Hibernian), Murphy (West Brom), O'Shea (Man Utd), Carr (Tottenham), Harte (Leeds), Cunningham (Birmingham), Breen (Sunderland), O'Brien (Newcastle), Dunne (Man City), Finnan (Liverpool), Holland (Charlton), Healy (Sunderland), Kinsella (Aston Villa), Quinn (Sheff Wed), Kilbane (Sunderland), Duff (Chelsea), Doherty (Tottenham), Keane (Tottenham), Morrison (Birmingham), Connolly (West Ham).
AUSTRALIA SQUAD: Aloisi (Osasuna), Bresciano (Parma), Cahill (Millwall), Chipperfield (Basle), Emerton (Blackburn), Foxe (Portsmouth), Grella (Empoli), Kalac (Perugia), Kewell (Liverpool), Lazaridis (Birmingham), Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Tiatto (Man City), Vidmar (Cardiff), Viduka (Leeds).