Sammon to make leap against Poland
Soccer: Giovanni Trapattoni will give Derby County striker Conor Sammon his debut in the friendly against Poland at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow evening. The former UCD and Derry City forward is set to start alongside West Brom frontman Shane Long.
Sammon is the only debutant in the starting XI, with Trapattoni content to keep his Rams clubmates Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh in reserve.
As expected, David Forde will start in goal ahead of Keiren Westwood, behind Paul McShane, the central pairing of Ciaran Clark and captain John O’Shea, and the returning Greg Cunningham of Bristol City, who has not added to his three caps since 2010.
Robbie Brady and James McClean will man the wings, with James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan operating in the central midfield.“We’ve seen him many times,” Trapattoni said of Sammon. “He’s big and not just fast, but sensible and agile. Normally with big players, they don’t move so quickly. That’s my impression, at least.”
The Italian added that, between them, Sammon and Long could help create space for the likes of McClean and Brady.
The latter is arguably the most creative in the starting XI,k but Trapattoni preferred not to heap that pressure on the youngster and reverted to a well-worn script when asked where the the spark would come from.
“We don’t have (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo our team is built on positive attitude and discipline,” he said.
Trapattoni expects to see more unfamiliar faces in the second half, including Reading defender Alex Pearce, who scored on his debut against Oman in Craven Cottage last September.
“Yes, Keogh, Pearce and Hendrick, we hope to see two or three new players in the second half."
One player who won’t be involved is Pearce’s clubmate and veteran of the 2002 World Cup Ian Harte, who took to Twitter today to once again accuse the Italian of not even knowing he was Irish, while also referring to him as a ‘clown’.
The manager was not minded to bite back this afternoon, repeating that he was well aware of Harte’s eligibility and, more pertinently, his age (35).
“We know about Ian but we looked for young players,” he said, referring to when he first took the job in 2008. “I know him and I saw many games. We had Kevin Kilbane, John (O’Shea) and since then we’ve had (Stephen) Ward and now Cunningham.
Rep of Ireland (v Poland): Forde, McShane, O'Shea (cap), Clark, Cunningham; Brady, Whelan, McCarthy, McClean; Long, Sammon