Giovanni Trapattoni could be forced into making another injury enforced change to the Irish team’s starting line up for Tuesday night’s visit of Austria. Captain Robbie Keane will undergo a scan to confirm the extent of a calf strain after pulling up in Sunday’s training session in Malahide.
Trapattoni however was bullish after the training session, saying “It’s not a problem, Robbie had a little bit of pain in his calf.” However until the result of the scan is known the Tallaght mans fate is unclear.
His absence, if necessary, could see Ireland come about their best team by default. With James McCarthy proving the importance of his vision and timing in Stockholm it is unlikely the now recovered Glenn Whelan will return in his place. And with many commentators and observers impressed yet again by Wes Hoolahan’s cameo and calls for his inclusion pervasive, his involvement is feasible.
However even if Keane does miss out, it would be no shock to see Trapattoni move Jonathan Walters across to partner Shane Long and Andy Keogh drafted in to the right hand side to perform a similar role as to that of Walters in the Sweden game.
Trapattoni however did go marginally against type in Stockholm with his substitution of Hoolahan for Keane. The roaming, prodding role Hoolahan had was in comparison to Keane's disciplined graft as essentially an extra midfielder. If he started on Tuesday, Hoolahan would be a fifth man in midfield, sitting behind Long. But his influence would be potentially decisive in Ireland’s ability to create chances.
However if Trapattoni is right and Keane is given the all clear, Hoolahan’s chance to start will be essentially removed. But if Ireland’s lack of bite in front of goal is sustained, expect to see at least another cameo.