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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Ireland's Duff passed fit for Montenegro clash

Fulham winger Damien Duff has rejoined the Republic of Ireland squad ahead of Wednesday night's final World Cup qualifier against Montenegro.

The 30-year-old was in the stands at Croke Park for Saturday night's dramatic 2-2 draw with Italy which saw the Republic clinch a play-off spot as the holders ensured they will finish top of Group Eight.

Duff spent the latter part of last week back in London having treatment on the calf problem which ruled him out of the game, but returned to training in Malahide this morning.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: "Damien Duff is with us and he said to me the injury has gone." Midfielder Glenn Whelan is suspended for the Montenegro game after picking up his second booking of the campaign last night.

Trapattoni hinted he will make changes with five men - Shay Given, Aiden McGeady, Keith Andrews, Paul McShane and Leon Best - all on one yellow card and knowing another would rule them out of the first leg of the play-offs. Given, along with Kevin Kilbane, is in line to win his 100th cap if selected.

The draw for the play-offs will take place next Monday with France, Portugal, Russia and Greece looking likely to be the four seeded teams against which the Republic could be drawn.


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