O'Neill gives the thumbs-up on Hendrick fitness

Updated / Friday, 10 Nov 2017 19:29

Jeff Hendrick looks set to start for Ireland against Denmark

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has no last-minute injury worries ahead of his side's World Cup qualifying play-off first-leg with Denmark tomorrow.

Ireland take on the Danes in Copenhagen in the first of a two-legged play-off and O’Neill is confident that both Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward will be fit to start the game.

Hendrick had been a doubt with a glute problem while Ward also sat out training on Wednesday but both came through a full training session yesterday and O’Neill is optimistic about their chances.

"I’m hoping that both of them will be fit," he replied at his final press conference before the game when asked about the Burnley duo’s availability.

The Ireland boss is relishing the tie and the chance to test himself against his opposite number Age Hareide, a man he played with at Manchester City and Norwich and rented a room to during that time.

"Since I was a better player, I was earning more money at the time," O’Neill explained, tongue in cheek. "He had nowhere else to stay and I charged him very, very cheap rent so I’ll send him a bill.

"It’s a great game for us," he added. "As far as we're concerned qualifying for the Euros was a great achievement for us, and we thought that some of the performances were great.

"We forged a very strong reputation by playing brilliantly in that competition, getting there is big but the World Cup is something else as well so if we could make it it would be fantastic and obviously our opponents will feel the same as well."

"We’ve been able to see quite a lot of them from DVDs. They’ll be really tough but when you’re in a qualification play-off tie, it’s going to be tough. They’re the seeded side and the expectation is going to be on them."

Roof closed here until tomorrow 3pm. Pitch a little bare in places but looks half decent. #RTEsoccer #DENIRL pic.twitter.com/OIBnrKHAHE

— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 10, 2017

As well as having to worry about their opponents, Ireland will have to keep an tight leash on their discipline with no fewer than 10 players a yellow card away from being suspended for the second leg.

However despite playing that the threat of a ban hanging over so many players, Robbie Brady insists that Ireland will not change their approach.

"There’s a few going into the game tomorrow on a yellow card but I don’t think you can concentrate too much on that," he said. 

"We've got a job to do and we’ll focus on that but if we can avoid picking up anymore yellow cards that’ll be good."

Live coverage of Denmark v Ireland on RTÉ2 (7.25pm), live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport and live blog on RTÉ.ie from 6pm.