Kerr to make at least four changes

 

SOCCER: Manager Brian Kerr will make substantial changes to the Irish starting line-up for tomorrow night's friendly international against China in Dublin with Andy Reid, Graham Kavanagh, Richard Dunne and Paddy Kenny all set to start after sitting out the 1-1 draw with Israel on Saturday.

"We have to get to the point where Paddy has international experience," said Kerr after arriving home in Dublin yesterday. "He's in great form for his club at the moment but he lacks a bit of experience at this level and this is an ideal opportunity to give him a bit.

"The three lads will start too and after that we'll look at it," he added. "It'll be an experienced team but then all the lads we have are experienced with the exception of Stephen Elliott. He would benefit from the game but then I have to balance that up with the fact the Clinton (Morrison) isn't playing too much for his club at the moment and that clearly took it's toll on him last night.

"He's not as sharp as he would be otherwise, he'd admit it himself, but he'll be the better of even last night's game so we'll see how it goes and I might look to start him again . . . I'll weigh it up."

It is doubtful whether Matt Holland will play as he returned to England to be with his wife who was discharged from hospital on Saturday after having a riding accident earlier in the week.

Gary Breen has also returned to England after picking up a knee injury in training during the Thursday's training session. "Gary won't be involved," said Kerr. "He's gone back to his club and hopefully he can get himself right for Saturday. As for Matt, I'm not sure, I'd like him to play but we'll talk about it between now and then and make a decision on what he's going to do."

The Ireland manager, meanwhile, said he expects both Steve Carr and Roy Keane to travel to the Faroe Islands for the second of June's World Cup qualifiers despite the pair being suspended for the return game against Israel because of the yellow cards they picked up over the weekend.

"They're not available for the first game but they are for the second a few days later. I've thought about it already and I would view the preparations for the two games as being a single package and I would expect both of them to be involved in the whole of that package and that includes the Celtic match (Jackie McNamara's testimonial game at the end of May in Glasgow)."

Kerr was speaking shortly after he and the rest of the Irish party had landed in Dublin on a flight that had been delayed by the illness of Football Association of Ireland president Milo Corcoran who had boarded the plane to travel but subsequently felt unwell and had stay on in Tel Aviv for tests.

"He didn't feel well and because of the length of the flight it was felt to be wise that he stay on as a precaution which is always the right approach to take in these circumstances," Kerr said.

The association's chief executive, John Delaney, and team doctor Conal Hooper stayed on with Corcoran who underwent tests yesterday at a Tel Aviv hospital. An FAI spokesman said that the initial reports were that the tests had failed to find any serious problem and that the three men are expected to travel home today.