O’Neill set to improvise upfront vs Slovakia

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has admitted he will have to improvise upfront tomorrow night as he now only has one match fit striker following a number of injuries last week. Forwards Kevin Doyle,Daryl Murphy, Jonathan Walters and Robbie Keane are all injured leaving Shane Long as the only remaining striker. The Southampton forward has an eye for goal and is currently enjoying a good run of form featuring regularly for the Premier League side. When questioned on the dilemma O’Neill was confident in the ability of his midfielders suggesting winger James McClean could play upfront tomorrow night. McClean played as a striker on a number of occasions when playing with Wigan. The Derry native replaced Long on Friday night and lead the line in a central role for the remaining minutes.

Alternatively O’Neill could opt for a 4-3-3 formation. McClean as a left winger, Long as a central striker and Aiden McGeady on the right. This is unlikely however as O’Neill favours formations that feature a striking duo. The Irish manger didn’t hide his disappointment in the loss of his strikers. He had hoped Kevin Doyle would have completed the match against the Swiss and expected Robbie Keane and Jonathan Walters to feature in some way against Slovakia. O’Neill will certainly have to tinker with his starting eleven once again but could hand some more international experience to fringe players.

The match kicks off at 7:45pm in the Aviva Stadium.

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