Martin O'Neill extends Republic of Ireland contract

Monday, 09 Oct, 2017

"They are the hard games".

"If I had detected that some of our players had been feisty, I would act on it but we have just come back from Georgia and the atmosphere is good. We want the players to enjoy the game as they have created this situation".

When he's on-song, he's arguably our best player.

"It's great. We know what we have to do, we have to win a game". One goal might nick it. But it is hard sometimes when the game is in the bank and has been won so early on. "[We] got out and closed Italy down very, very quickly and a lot of that will be necessary tomorrow night". It will be similar to Dublin when two sets of players lock horns.

With key men Robbie Brady and James McClean available to face Wales after suspension, O'Neill may shuffle his pack once again on a night when he knows opposite number Chris Coleman will not have superstar Gareth Bale at his disposal. The question is where?

And the Wales boss also sent out one last rallying cry for home supporters to get behind their team for the final fixture of the regular qualifying campaign. He's getting his reward now in that he playing for longer periods than the first team at club level. It would be very harsh to leave him out in Cardiff. McClean will likely replace Callum O'Dowda whilst Brady could come in for Wes Hoolahan. "We've just got to make sure we turn up and cause them problems".

"I think there are exciting times ahead for us with some younger players coming through". If there's a draw and Serbia lose by two goals or more, Wales would top the group. As a striker, you expect to start with a brace to your name, but nothing is certain with O'Neill. "Shane missed a couple of chances and he passed that comment to me on the way in about not being able to buy a goal". The positive thing is that he will not hide. Bale's absence is obviously a huge blow but, on the plus side, Wales now possess more attacking options than for many years.

"It's Do or Dai" was the headline in one Irish newspaper last week as Monday night's showdown in Cardiff approached. Beat Wales and we're into the play-offs. I went one in 13 games or something the next season.

So this is it.

It's victor takes all and that makes for a lively evening in the Cardiff City Stadium, the venue preferred by Chris Coleman and his players because of the noise it generates.

He said: "No, I don't think that will have any bearing on it". We've missed him. It would be nice to go there.

As for the team news, neither side suffered any casualties from their games on Friday. Republic of Ireland, on the other hand, will be bidding for their fourth finals qualification.