After a drab performance when going down 1-0 against Scotland, having taken seven points from their first three Euro 2016 qualifying games, Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill is undoubtedly under pressure to be positive in their Aviva Stadium clash with Poland.
As reported in the Independent, Wigan winger James McClean, something of an O’Neill favourite having come to prominence for Sunderland during the veteran gaffer’s spell at the Stadium of Light, has described the game as ‘must win’, although his gaffer and assistant Roy Keane were reticent about putting up such a hostage to fortune.
Nevertheless, against a side that has scored 17 goals in their past five games, and at least twice in each of those fixtures, they’ll have to attack at some stage if they want to stay in the reckoning for qualification.
Here are three of The Boys in Green’s best hopes for a goal:
Robbie Keane @ 11/4 to score at any time (top price with bwin.com)
Always the obvious candidate having scored a whopping 65 goals in 137 games for Ireland, and even more so considering some firms are offering as little as half the price at 11/8 on the LA Galaxy striker.
The 34-year-old is joint-12th on the international all-time top-scorer list alongside Ivory Coast and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, and will lead the line in Dublin, so should be the main beneficiary of positive tactics from O’Neill.
Robbie Brady @ 6/1
Brady grabbed a brace at home to USA in Ireland’s November friendly despite being thrown in at left-back, where he could play again if Burnley’s Steven Ward doesn’t prove his fitness in time.
Hull’s former Manchester United youth hasn’t scored since, but he hasn’t been given much game time of late due to injuries. If he starts in a similar system Ireland set up against Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, 6/1 will look a big price.
James McCarthy @ 14/1 (top price)
The Everton man is yet to score in 24 international appearances, but has recent striking form having notched in the Toffees’ 3-0 win at home to Newcastle a fortnight ago.
After missing all of Ireland’s Euro 2016 fixtures since they won 2-1 in Georgia, the classy midfielder, who is thought to still be on the radars of north London duo Arsenal and Spurs, will be raring to go.