Euro 2012 qualifiers

Duff heads list of returning quartet for Ireland

September 20, 2010

Four players who missed Republic of Ireland's last two Euro 2012 qualifiers have been included in a 26-man provisional squad ahead of the games against Russia and Slovakia.

Damien Duff in action against Manchester United
GettyImagesDamien Duff in action against Manchester United

Damien Duff, Keith Andrews, Keith Treacy and Darren O'Dea missed the two wins over Armenia and Andorra. Duff, 31, Treacy and O'Dea have been back in action for their clubs Fulham, Preston and Ipswich respectively but Andrews has yet to return for Blackburn.

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has also included CSKA Sofia striker Cillian Sheridan again. The 21-year-old former Celtic player was drafted into the squad ahead of the last two internationals following the injury withdrawals. Trapattoni warned that Russia and Slovakia remain the Republic's biggest rivals.

He said: "We go into these qualifiers with six points from six in the opening games of the campaign in September. We performed well against Armenia and Andorra and we will build on these good results in our next games against Russia and Slovakia.

"These teams are the top seeds in the group and they will be looking to take three points from us to kickstart their Euro campaigns. But we have prepared well and will not make it easy for them as we continue to lay the foundations to qualify for the European Championship finals.''

Republic of Ireland provisional 26-man squad to face Russia and Slovakia: Given (Manchester City), Westwood (Coventry), Murphy (Scunthorpe); O'Shea (Manchester United), Dunne (Aston Villa), St Ledger (Preston), Cunningham (Manchester City), Foley (Wolves), Kelly (Fulham), McShane (Hull), O'Dea (Ipswich); Kilbane (Hull), Andrews (Blackburn), Whelan (Stoke), Gibson (Manchester United), Green (Derby), Lawrence (Portsmouth), McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Keogh (Cardiff), Duff (Fulham), Fahey (Birmingham), Treacy (Preston); Keane (Tottenham), Doyle (Wolves), Long (Reading), Sheridan (CSKA Sofia).