Paddy Madden on standby for Ireland after four withdraw
Goalkeeper Stephen Henderson called up as Forde, Pilkington, Cox and Quinn drop out
The withdrawal of both he and Cox leaves Ireland very low on forward options for the game in Cardiff, with Shane Long, Jonathan Walters and Conor Sammon the only frontmen in the squad after captain Robbie Keane and Wolves striker Kevin Doyle were omitted from the initial selection.
The two were left out for very different reasons, with Keane simply given time off to focus on his LA Galaxy commitments, but Doyle out of favour after a lacklustre season that saw Wolves relegated to League One.
Any hopes Doyle had of a surprise call were trumped this evening when the FAI confirmed Madden is on call ahead of the squad assembling in Newport on Sunday.
Madden’s inclusion comes after a phenomenal season for the 23-year-old. He left Carlisle United last October in search of games and goals, and found both when helping Yeovil Town to promotion to the Championship and picking up the League One Golden Boot having hit the net 25 times.
The former Bohemians frontman greeted the news on Twitter this evening with no less than three smiley faces.
“Thanks for messages :) Delighted with the news, on standby for Ireland senior team :) Hopefully that first cap will come soon :)”
Another man with whom today’s developments will sit well is goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who looks sure to start against Wales after the withdrawal of Forde. With the Millwall man expected to spend a month on the sidelines, the Sunderland goalkeeper is in pole position to be between the posts against Sweden on September 6th.
“David (Forde) has had a slight clean-up of his knee,” said Millwall manager Steve Lomas today. “We are hoping he will be back in four weeks.”
That sort of recovery period would see Forde only returning to fitness on the week of the Sweden game, which comes four days before the trip to Austria.
The suggestion from Trapattoni, since the retirement of Shay Given, has been that Westwood, if playing regularly at Premier League level, is his preferred number one. Now that Simon Mignolet has departed for Liverpool, that appears to be the case, and should Westwood start the season at home against Fulham on August 17th, he will have three flight games under his belt before the visit of Sweden, barring either injury or calamity.
Gareth Bale has been named in the Wales squad for the friendly. The Tottenham winger is currently the subject of intense speculation surrounding a possible big-money move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, and has also been battling to overcome a niggling injury.
Wales manager Chris Coleman’s 23-man squad also includes Cardiff striker Craig Bellamy and Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who missed the majority of last season with cruciate knee ligament injuries.