Although he recently incurred a calf injury, Brady has told O’Neill that he still thinks he has a chance of beating the March 29 deadline for the game at the Aviva Stadium.
“Robbie desperately, desperately wants to play,” said O’Neill. “He said, ‘don’t rule me out please, I really am dead keen’, which really was nice to hear. And he said, ‘give me every opportunity’, which I fully intend to do.”
Everton’s Aiden McGeady, out of action since the end of January with a badly bruised knee, is another who hopes to be fit for the fray. “I spoke to Aiden about six or seven days ago,” said O’Neill. “He felt he was pretty good, that it was just a matter of time. I think that he was still sore when he was kicking a ball — that might be a slight concern but he’s pretty hopeful.”
As for new boy Arter, O’Neill observed: “He is having a very good season at Bournemouth. He’s played at underage level, it’s a chance to add another fresh face.”
Meanwhile, the hunt continues for more fresh blood, with Arter’s club mate and prolific striker Callum Wilson entering the frame. O’Neill confirmed: “He’s played U21 for England but that doesn’t make him ineligible. We’re in the process of checking out (his eligibility). I think he’s a very good player. I don’t want to sound like a detective here but I’m following up on a number of other leads. I think there’s one or two might come to fruition in the next couple of months, maybe even before the Scotland game, that might be pleasantly surprising.”
Definitely eligible is Aberdeen’s Dublin-born striker Adam Rooney. “Roy (Keane) went up to see him against Celtic and thought he didn’t do too badly, although Roy said he didn’t have much service,” O’Neill remarked.
Briefly yesterday, the squad sheet was issued and the name of Wes Hoolahan was absent. Turned out this was only a typo and the Norwich schemer was quickly reinstated after the shortest of international exiles. “That was an accident,” O’Neill confirmed. “He’s back in form, his injury has cleared up, and the new manager at Norwich seems to want to play him more often now.”
Also yesterday, it was announced Bank Of Ireland have agreed a four-year deal as the FAI’s official financial services partner and sponsor of the post-primary schools cup competitions.
(Provisional squad) Keepers: David Forde, Shay Given, Keiren Westwood, Darren Randolph, Rob Elliot. Defenders: Richard Keogh, Marc Wilson, Seamus Coleman, Cyrus Christie, John O’Shea, Alex Pearce, Paul McShane, Ciaran Clark, Stephen Ward. Midfielders: James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, Harry Arter, Glenn Whelan, Darron Gibson, Paul Green, Aiden McGeady, Anthony Pilkington, James McClean, Robbie Brady, Stephen Quinn, David Meyler, Wes Hoolahan. Forwards: Robbie Keane, Shane Long, Daryl Murphy, Jon Walters, Kevin Doyle, Anthony Stokes, Simon Cox, David McGoldrick.