Seamus Coleman is expected to win his second senior international cap tonight as the Republic of Ireland entertain Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in the Carling Nations Cup.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni is waiting on fitness updates on Liam Lawrence for the right side of midfield and Keith Fahey for the centre. Should they be ruled out, Coleman will come in on the right and Kevin Foley will join Keith Andrews in the middle. If Lawrence is delcared fit then Coleman would still be in the frame and anticipated to make an appearance from the bench.
Shay Given will return to the fray to win a record 111th cap after missing the March internationals through a shoulder injury. Speculation continues to be rife about his future and Tottenham Hotspur are believed to be weighing up an offer for the Manchester City goalkeeper.
Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark, whose father Michael was brought up in Milford, withdrew from the squad on Sunday with a hamstring worry.
Ireland face Northern Ireland tonight before rounding off the Carling Cup campaign against Scotland on Sunday. Then, Ireland travel to Macdonia for a European championship qualifer on Saturday, June 4, and take on Italy in a friendly in Liege in Belgium three days later.
Coleman’s season ended on something of a sour note when he was sent off for Everton in their final match of the campaign on Sunday - a 1-0 home win over Chelsea. The 22-year-old was dismissed for a forceful looking challenge on John Obi Mikel, which earned him a second yellow card having been cautioned for an earlier challenge on Ashley Cole.
Team-mate Phil Jagielka has tipped Coleman to become a vital part of the set-up next term. Last Thursday the former St Catherine’s defender was named as the club’s young player of the year.
“It was hard for Seamus,” Jagielka said. “He has not played at this level for so many games before. The first 10-15 games he was competing for man of the match almost every game.
“He will learn from that and come back next season. He is a normal down-to-earth guy who knows how lucky he is to be playing. He has not got his head in the clouds thinking he is the next best thing. He is a very good player and hopefully next season he will get even better.”
Ireland team: Given; McShane, Kelly, Wilson, Delaney; Lawrence/Coleman, Andrews, Fahey/Foley, Treacy; Keane, Cox.