Keith Fahey insists the Republic of Ireland need to look after themselves and not worry about their Euro 2012 rivals as they attempt to make their way to the finals.
Fahey’s 76th-minute strike in Yerevan edged the Republic to a 1-0 win over Armenia in their Group B opener on Friday evening, and they will look to double their tally tomorrow when Andorra head for the Aviva Stadium.
The visitors lost 2-0 to Russia, who have been installed by many, if not in Ireland, as favourites to win the group, in their first game, and a second victory in five days is imperative if Giovanni Trapattoni’s men are to stand a chance of pipping the Russians to top spot.
However, Fahey is not bothered what message that would send out to Dick Advocaat’s team or any of their other opponents.
He said: “It will be important to us to get the three points and finish the two games on six.
“We can’t really be looking around at the other countries, but as a group it would be a great boost for the squad.
“We will be looking to get three points – if we get three points, it will be a nice start to the group.
“But it will be a tough game – all international games are tough, and they will be hard to break down.”
That is a message which has been drummed home by Trapattoni and his staff, although few commentators expect the Irish to slip up after working so hard to get their first win on the board.
Fahey’s contribution at the Yerevan Republican Stadium – it was his first goal at senior international level – proved decisive, but he does not know yet whether it was enough to earn him a first competitive start for his country against Andorra.
Trapattoni usually names his team the day before a game, and despite the Birmingham midfielder’s presence in what might have been the line-up in a training ground game in Malahide yesterday, he is none the wiser.
He said: “We haven’t been given any indication at all I wouldn’t read anything into it.
“It’s great to be involved, but everyone wants to start. But I am sure the manager will pick the team he thinks is best for the game.”
Trapattoni has had to come to terms during his reign to date with the fact that many of his players are not regulars in their club sides, and skipper Robbie Keane and vastly-experienced goalkeeper Shay Given have joined that group in recent times.
Fahey too has had to be patient since his move to St Andrews in January last year, and while he is determined to force his way into Alex McLeish’s plans to help cement his international place, he is not too concerned that a lack of action could harm his cause.
He said: “I am not to sure. I am in and out at the moment. I started the first game of the season and another two games I have come on as a sub, but I hope not.
“If that’s the case, well he would be struggling to pick a squad, I reckon.
“I think he [Trapattoni] will pick whoever he thinks is up to it.”