Eamon Dunphy has tipped the Republic of Ireland to secure a point when they face Austria in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Vienna on Saturday and the veteran pundit has also suggested how Martin O’Neill’s men should line up at the Ernst Happel Stadium.

Serbia lead Ireland on goal difference at the top of Group D in the race for an automatic qualification place at Russia 2018, while Austria are three points and two places adrift of the Boys in Green.

Speaking on RTÉ 2fm's Game On, Dunphy said: “The most important thing is to be tight and compact, and to go and play your game.

“With Austria’s woes, if we go and do that, I think we have a very good chance of getting a point.”

One of Wes Hoolahan’s staunchest advocates, Dunphy again banged the drum for the mercurial midfielder and called for the inclusion of fellow midfielder Harry Arter.

“We have to go and play football,” he insisted.  

“And I think with Stephen Ward being unavailable it’s an opportunity to bring Wes Hoolahan into the team and to bring Harry Arthur into the team as well. He’s playing really well for Bournemouth.

“Let Robbie Brady go back to left-back.”

A raft of injuries have depleted Ireland’s attacking options ahead of the game and the Millwall legend believes O’Neill could well deploy a lone striker.

“We’ve no Shane Long, we’ve no Daryl Murphy,” Dunphy lamented.

“We’ve one out-and-out striker, Jon Walters, so it is difficult for Martin O’Neill to play without an established goalscorer.

“He’s going to have to work around that, maybe with five in midfield and one up front.”

The Drumcondra native correctly predicted the inclusion of Dundalk stars Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle in the 28-man squad, but believes that the rigours of a demanding season at home and abroad will prevent them featuring in Austria.

“I think they’re very good players,” Dunphy, who watched Dundalk face in the Cork in the FAI Cup final on Sunday and Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Europa League last Thursday, said.

“I watched the match yesterday and they looked very tired.

“I watched the match last week as well against Saint Petersburg and they looked tired.

“These lads have had a gruelling time of it, so to ask them to step up and play in Vienna would be too much, but they deserve their places in the squad.”

"If I was to put a bet on now, I'd back Chelsea, but I think the two of them will pull away from the rest" - Eamon Dunphy on the Premier League title race 

Turning his attention to the Premier League, Dunphy believes that the top two sides in the division will draw clear of their nearest rivals over the course of the season.

Liverpool lead the league for the first time since May 2014 after their 6-1 drubbing of Watford on Sunday, a scenario that doesn’t surprise the pundit.

"I tipped them to win the Premier League before it started and they've done very well," he said.

"I think they are bound to be contending, but I think at the weekend the most impressive performance came from Chelsea.”

Antonio Conte’s side were arguably more impressive in their 5-0 annihilation of Everton a day before the Reds crushed the Hornets.

“The 5-0 win over Everton was impeccable and they are stronger at the back than Liverpool and that may make the difference in the end, but it is going to be a very interesting race right to the wire,” Dunphy said.

Reflecting on the Blues progress under Conte, he added: “They took two heavy beatings.

“Arsenal gave them a hiding and then Liverpool beat them at home in the early weeks of the season.

“There was some suggestion at one stage that Conte would be the first manager to be sacked, but he rearranged the side and brought Moses in and Alonso as his wing-backs.

“He has really done a great job.

"He's a top coach. What they have, that Liverpool haven't yet got, is a rock-solid defence.

"If I was to put a bet on now, I'd back Chelsea, but I think the two of them will pull away from the rest.

"People fancy Manchester City but I don't think City have enough quality players to compete with Liverpool and Chelsea.

"But they will be the top three teams and the others will be battling it out for the last Champions League place."