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Clark relishing Weimann dual

Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark is aiming to give his Aston Villa team-mate Andreas Weimann a tough night when Austria travel to Dublin for a crucial World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Clark is good friends with the highly-rated midfielder who emerged through the Villa ranks alongside him in recent years, but he is planning a less than friendly welcome in the crucial Group C game at Lansdowne Road.

"Andi is one of my mates as he's one of the lads who's been at the club since he was about 16 like me and we get on really well," Clark told Ireland's Sunday World newspaper.

"But if we're both playing on the day there won't be any love lost, I'm sure. If he needs to be kicked, he'll be kicked!"

Clark has identified Weimann as the chief threat to Ireland's hopes of moving into second spot as he has lavished praise on the 21-year-old who has been one of the stars of Villa's troubled season and has been linked with moves to Liverpool and top Italian clubs in recent weeks.

"Andi has been brilliant for us this year, he's scored some crucial goals and the workrate you get from him is really top notch," Clark added. "He really gets around the pitch and he's a natural finisher too, which is obviously good when he's in a good position.

"Hopefully, he can keep scoring those crucial goals at club level but my ambition is that he won't get any reward next Tuesday."

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni is expected to name captain Robbie Keane in his starting line-up once again, despite stinging criticism of his performance in Friday's 0-0 draw against Sweden in the Irish media.

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