Mick McCarthy has a 22-man squad fit and rearing to go for Tuesday night’s Three International Friendly against Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium as international football returns to Dublin five days after the 1-1 EURO 2020 qualifying draw with Switzerland.
Defender Richard Keogh landed at the team hotel yesterday afternoon as the rest of the players arrived back from training at the FAI National Training Centre. David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson have remained at Sheffield United for treatment on shoulder and hamstring injuries respectively.
McCarthy said: “Everybody has come back from their day off after the Switzerland game and trained, with the exception of Richard Keogh who arrived later in the afternoon and did some work in the gym. The players are really looking forward to the Bulgaria game now after the excitement of the draw with Switzerland and that incredible atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium.
“There will be some changes against Bulgaria and the players understand that. Those who have travelled with us for the five competitive games without playing know that some of them will get their chances to impress in this match.
“The senior players will be able to show their support for the lads coming into the team and they will do just that. The atmosphere and the morale within the squad is top class and we will enjoy this fixture without the pressure of chasing three points in our bid to reach the EURO 2020 finals.”
McCarthy and his players watched Georgia’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland over dinner at the team hotel last night and while he welcomed the result, the Ireland manager won’t read too much into it ahead of the trip to Tbilisi next month.
“I was listening to the commentary and at the end of the match they were making out that Denmark had fluffed their lines,” added McCarthy.
“I don’t agree. Georgia are a good team, they were playing at home and the result just highlights for me how hard it is to go away and win in this group. Georgia might even have won it when they put that free-kick straight at [Kasper] Schmeichel at the death and there were a few shouts around the room here when that happened.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted it was a draw but the onus is still on us to go out there now and pick up points in October.”