Hull City defender Paul McShane will captain the Republic of Ireland for Tuesday's friendly clash with Italy in Belgium.

With Robbie Keane released from the squad, McShane will lead his country out in Liege.

There are doubts over the fitness of Darren O'Dea and Stephen Hunt, but Giovanni Trappatoni has given an unconfirmed starting XI, which will see a first start for Millwall goalkeeper David Forde.

The defence will comprise of Sean St Ledger, O'Dea or Stephen Kelly and Stephen Ward.

Seamus Coleman, Keith Andrews and Kevin Foley will team up with either Hunt or Liam Lawrence in midfield and Andy Keogh will partner Shane Long in attack.

Trapattoni will go head-to-head with a man he always expected to become a manager during their days together at Juventus.

The 72-year-old Republic of Ireland boss is revered for the job he did in two spells with the Turin club, the first of which saw him work with midfielder Cesare Prandelli, his latest successor as Italy coach.

Prandelli may not have been one of the superstars in the team, but Trapattoni knew he could always rely on him, and expected him to go on to bigger things.

Tomorrow night, the pair will be in opposite dugouts at the Maurice Dufrasne Stadium in Liege for a friendly encounter in which a much-changed Ireland side will attempt to maintain their impressive recent record against one of the giants of international football.

For Trapattoni and Prandelli, it will also be a pleasant reunion, and one to which the older man is looking forward both on and off the pitch.

The Republic boss said: 'He [Prandelli] was my player and I have a great affection for him, and I wish him the best of luck for the [Euro 2012] qualifying campaign.

'But I am not wishing him good luck for tomorrow. He was a very intelligent player - he wasn't the best player when I had him at Juventus, but he was a great man, one of those players that any coach would like to have.

'He was a reserve, but he was one of those reserves that you could count on - and when you needed him, he was always ready to step in and be counted.

'A great team needs reserves like that, reserves who are always ready to step in and deliver. It's a coach's dream to have players like that.'

Trapattoni added: 'Prandelli is trying to develop his team and he will look at new options tomorrow, other young players. That's important for us and it's important for Prandelli too.'

Meanwhile, Trapattoni confirmed that the Republic will face Croatia in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium on 10 August as the team prepares for the potentially crucial qualifying double-header against Slovakia and Russia the following month.

Republic of Ireland team: David Forde; Paul McShane, Sean St Ledger, Darren O'Dea or Stephen Kelly, Stephen Ward; Seamus Coleman, Keith Andrews, Kevin Foley, Stephen Hunt or Liam Lawrence; Andy Keogh, Shane Long.