Eddie Nolan will captain the Republic of Ireland U21 side in his native Waterford tonight.
The Preston North End defender will wear the captain’s armband when the Irish team face Spain in front of a capacity crowd at the RSC stadium.
Nolan will start in the centre of defence alongside Darren Dennehy, who was called into the squad to replace the injured Shane Lowry.
With Michael Spillane also set to miss the match through injury, Dennehy has a chance to impress ahead of next Tuesday night’s U21 UEFA 2011 European Championship qualifier against Turkey at Turner’s Cross.
Everton’s Seamus Coleman will play at right-back, with Brendan Moloney filling in for the injured Michael Liddle at left-back.
The Irish will take to the field with the same midfield trio that performed so well against Germany last month, with Owen Garvan, Stephen Gleeson and David Meyler all starting in the middle of the park. Alan Judge and Jay O’Shea will provide the width, with Cillian Sheridan up front.
Manager Don Givens is confident that the team can get off to a good start when they begin their European Championship qualifying campaign.
“We start our 2011 UEFA Championship qualifying campaign next Tuesday with a match against the top seeds, Turkey, at Turner’s Cross so it will important to get a good performance against Spain first,” he said.
“This group of lads showed they are determined and disciplined against Germany, aspects which are important when they step up to this level.
“I think this is the U21 squad that I’ve managed in which most lads are playing competitive football and that makes a huge difference in terms of coping with the pace.
“Reserve team football can be like testimonial matches sometimes and it’s vital that the players experience competitive football with clubs, even if it means going on loan.
“It’s unfortunate that the lads [Michael Liddle, Michael Spillane and Shane Lowry] are injured but it gives others the opportunity of coming in and impressing.
“Eddie Nolan is back in the squad and will captain the team while Jay O’Shea and Seamus Coleman - both of whom weren’t considered for the Germany game because they were out of season – come into the side.”
Republic of Ireland U21 team v Spain:
Shane Redmond (Eastwood Town)
Seamus Coleman (Everton)
Eddie Nolan (Preston North End) - captain
Darren Dennehy (Hereford United)
Brendan Moloney (Notts Forest)
Stephen Gleeson (MK Dons)
Owen Garvan (Ipswich Town)
David Meyler (Sunderland)
Alan Judge (Plymouth Argyle)
Jay O’Shea (Galway United)
Cillian Sheridan (Motherwell)
Friday March 27 (7.45pm)
Republic of Ireland v Spain
UEFA U21 2011 European Championship qualifier
Tuesday, March 31 (7.45pm)
Republic of Ireland v Turkey