Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland welcome Serbia to the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night hoping to inflict defeat on Ljubinko Drulovic’s men in his first match in charge, after he was temporarily instated following Sinisa Mihajlovic’s resignation in November when he failed to guide his country to Brazil 2014.
Under the watchful eyes of O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane in their first role in international management, Ireland have beaten Latvia comfortably and also held Poland to a goalless draw. Now they will be hoping to secure another momentum-building result as they look towards a tough but potentially successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign that will see them play Poland, Scotland and Georgia as well as debutants Gibraltar in Group D.
The Irish will not be at full strength, however, with Nottingham Forest midfielder Andy Reid, Newcastle United’s Rob Elliot and Queens Park Rangers’ Kevin Doyle all missing through respective injuries. Despite showing impressive form for loan club Middlesbrough, Ireland’s former no. 1 Shay Given has not been recalled since retiring after Euro 2012.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7:45pm
PAST TWO MEETINGS…
2012: Serbia 0-0 Republic of Ireland, International Friendly
2008: Serbia 1-1 Republic of Ireland, International Friendly
Republic of Ireland and Serbia have only met on two previous occasions, both ending in draws
In 2008, Andy Keogh rescued a draw for his side when he netted a 90th minute equaliser to cancel out Marko Pantelic’s opener in Giovanni Trappatoni’s first home match in charge of the Ireland national side
Serbia are unbeaten in their last five outings, winning three and drawing two, while Ireland are unbeaten in their last three with two wins and a draw
Republic of Ireland to win: 2.6
Serbia to win: 2.8
TV: 7:45pm, Sky Sports 3