Martin O’Neill will treat the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar like an FA Cup tie.
The Gibraltarians will run out in Dublin on Saturday evening desperate to avoid a repeat of their 7-0 drubbing by Poland in the opening round of Group D fixtures last month, their first senior competitive international.
Ireland boss O’Neill knows his side is expected to win and win comfortably, but he is taking nothing for granted having experienced tricky cup-ties during his playing days.
He said: “I am sure as a manager and as a a player I would have had cup matches where we would have been at home – certainly as a player at Nottingham Forest, we would have been drawn at home to supposedly lower-league opposition and found it really difficult.
“I remember one day, I think we were champions of Europe at the time and we played an FA Cup game against York City and conditions were pretty dreadful.
“Eventually, we might have won two or three-nil, but it was a long, long time coming.”
Despite the overwhelming odds in their favour, O’Neill has left nothing to chance during his preparations this week with his players having studied in detail the opening 45 minutes of Gibraltar’s clash with the Poles, during which they frustrated the opposition for long periods.
O’Neill said: “You haven’t seen it – we have had to study it because it’s my job. The game was exceptionally difficult for Poland to break down.
“Poland are a decent side. We, seriously, will not be good enough to be complacent, certainly not. We are not good enough to be complacent.”
Ireland launched their own campaign with a last-gasp victory in Georgia courtesy of Aiden McGeady’s sublime late winner, which defender Marc Wilson admits has left them brimming with confidence.
However, he and his team-mates are not about to be sucked in by the mistaken belief that Gibraltar will roll over without a fight at the Aviva Stadium.
Wilson said: “We know it’s going to be a tough game for us. It’s important we go out there with the right attitude.
“We have watched videos of them this week and they get a lot of men behind the ball, so if we can get that goal earlier in the game, it will help settle us.
“But we know it is going to be a difficult game and we have got to go out there with the right attitude.”