Stephen Ward returns to Ireland squad for friendly clashes

Noel King names 27-man panel for games against Latvia and Poland

Stephen Ward, seen here in action for Brighton, has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly games against Latvia and Poland. Photograph: Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Stephen Ward, seen here in action for Brighton, has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly games against Latvia and Poland. Photograph: Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Wed, Nov 6, 2013, 18:58

Republic of Ireland caretaker manager Noel King has named a 27-man squad for the upcoming friendly internationals against Latvia and Poland.

Next Friday’s game against Latvia at the Aviva stadium will see the unveiling of the new management team of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, but King was charged with picking the squad as his final task of his interim role that also saw him manage the side for the final games of the World Cup qualification campaign.

There is as a return to the squad for Stephen Ward, who has not played since the friendly defeat to Greece 12 months ago. The full back, who has been capped 18 times, is presently on loan at Brighton from Wolves.

Richard Dunne will remain with QPR during the international window as he continues his recovery programme from last season’s groin injury, while Crystal Palace centre back Damien Delaney is not named as he has been struggling with an ankle injury.

Reading defender Alex Pearce is called up while Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot is named again despite Darren Randolph’s recovery from injury.

Robbie Brady returns after his hernia operation and skipper Robbie Keane is named despite being involved in the MLS play-offs with Los Angeles Galaxy.

LA lead 1-0 over Real Salt Lake from the home leg of the Western Conference semi-finals, with the second leg taking place on Thursday night. If they win through, the Galaxy will play the first leg of the conference championships on Sunday before a break for the November internationals.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (Squad): David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), Rob Elliot (Newcastle); Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Marc Wilson (Stoke City), Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Reading), Stephen Kelly (Reading), Joey O’Brien (West Ham), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Brighton & Hove Albion); James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Paul Green (Leeds Utd), Andy Reid (Nottingham Forest), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City), James McClean (Wigan), Robbie Brady (Hull City), Stephen Quinn (Hull City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City); Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Jon Walters (Stoke City), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Anthony Stokes (Celtic).

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