Tardelli: Georgia game a chance to experiment

Sandwiched between England at Wembley and a World Cup qualifier, it’s fair to say that not too many people have had Georgia on their mind.

But you can be sure Giovanni Trapattoni will be giving plenty of thought to the team he will field in tomorrow’s game against opponents who are managed by Temuri Ketsbaia, a gifted player still fondly remembered in this part of the world for dementedly kicking an advertising hoarding as he celebrated a goal for Newcastle United.

Only later today will Trapattoni show his hand but already we know for sure that a couple of players definitely won’t be featuring in his team, Marco Tardelli indicating yesterday that John O’Shea and David Forde will be rested and confirming that Robbie Brady has had to withdraw from the squad altogether with a groin problem. Rubbing salt in the Hull winger’s wound was the assistant manager’s follow-up revelation: “The plan was to start him against Georgia. It’s unlucky for him.”

The plan is still to make tomorrow’s game Richard Dunne’s comeback, though whether from the start or later on is yet to be decided. The same question applies to Robbie Keane who, should he play against the Georgians, would equal Shay Given’s Irish caps haul of 125, setting the captain up to beat the record against either the Faroe Islands or Spain.

Overall, there is expected to be a significant reshuffle in the team Trapattoni selects.

“Yes, I think so because we need to see the new players,” said Tardelli. “They deserve to play against Georgia in the friendly match, and we need to try also (Marc) Wilson, because there is the match against the Faroe Islands and we want to see if he is well or not.”

Wilson, who missed out on Wembley as he recovers from a hamstring problem, told reporters yesterday that he will take medical advice on his fitness for the fray.

“I feel as if I am progressing and it is getting better,” said the Stoke man. “Before when I was training I felt a bit of fatigue in my hamstring but now I am not feeling it and I am doing a lot of gym work with the physios and starting to feel good. The manager asked me was I okay but obviously the professionals, the doctors and physios, will have to give their opinion at the end of the day.”

One game Wilson will definitely miss, however, is the friendly in New York against Spain which will wrap up Ireland’s end of season schedule. Wilson, who broke his leg, last October, will instead be going into hospital the day before the match in Yankee Stadium to have a steel plate removed.

“I’m booked in on the 10th to have it removed from my leg because I think that’s where a lot of my problems are coming from,” he said. “It’s a little strip of metal about three inches long with four screws in it. It’s down near the ankle on the fibula.”

Wilson added that he could have delayed the operation but only at the expense of eating into his pre-season back at Stoke, something which, one has to presume, would hardly have been greeted warmly by the club’s new manager Mark Hughes.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox