Trappatoni loses Keane and Dunne as withdrawals take toll
With Fabio Capello using England’s friendly with France as a chance to blood some fresh faces, Giovanni Trappatoni will be forced into giving those on the fringes of the Republic of Ireland team a start after six withdrawals from his squad to face Norway.
Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Kevin Kilbane are all regular starters under Trappatoni but have withdrawn because of various injuries, and Sean St Ledger, Dunne’s regular partner at the centre of the defence, is also a major doubt after picking up a knee injury in Preston’s loss to Hull.
Ciaran Clarke, Caleb Folan and Paul McShane are the other absentees, but the problems in defence are the major concerns for Trappatoni who was hoping to field a strong line-up against Norway for a game Ireland are 6/5 to win.
Trappatoni looks certain to hand debuts to 22-year-old Seamus Coleman and 23-year-old Marc Wilson at the back, with Leicester full-back Greg Cunningham set to win just his second cap.
John O’Shea will be the only regular starter in the Irish defence and will be expected by Trappatoni to guide the youngsters as they prepare to face a Norwegian attack that has only failed to score once in their past 13 matches.
O’Shea looks set to move into the centre of defence for the game as Ireland assistant coach Marco Tardelli is expecting problems from the Norwegian attack after losing two tall players in Dunne and St Ledger.
“In the Norway side there are a lot of tall players and I think we will have difficulty without St Ledger, Richard Dunne,” Tardelli told the Irish times.
With such an inexperienced defence, Ireland will find stopping the Norwegian attack difficult and Norway are 9/4 to beat Ireland with over 2.5 goals available at 11/10.
The draw is available at 9/4. See the full International football betting odds here.