Mick McCarthy says Shane Long is “back where we need him to be” to stake a claim for a place on the plane to Slovakia, while the manager is prepared to give Ciaran Clark and James McClean as long as he can to see if they are able to recover from injury in time for Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off on March 26.
The battle for promotion from the Championship reaches a crescendo this weekend with at least eight teams still dreaming of making it into the Premier League and two able to seal it right now. But how well prepared are any of the sides for what could lie ahead?
Spring is in the air. The cold hand of the previous year’s winter, which resulted in heavy snow and fixture cancellations as late as March was conspicuous by its absence but as April begins no one is taking the warm weather for granted just yet.
We live in an era of protest, one in which the right to protest is protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, and one in which nervous authorities are increasingly influenced by the voice of the people and the noise they make.