Stephen Kenny has backed young strikers Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly to score the goals Ireland need to turn around their miserable run of results.

So far in Kenny's reign, Ireland have scored 11 goals in 16 games with the three most recent coming from defenders John Egan and Shane Duffy and Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

But the manager is convinced Norwich's Idah and Brighton counterpart Connolly, who are yet to register at senior level, have what it takes.

Asked if he had had to address their mounting frustration with Idah in particular having played well in September's qualifier triple-header against Portugal, the Azeris and the Serbians, he said: "Yes, it's a valid point.

"Adam Idah, though, I felt performed really well in the previous internationals and actually got at least one man-of-the-match award.

"He led the line well and ran the channels and offered a threat with his pace in a lot of the games, and obviously his header was inches wide against Azerbaijan in the home game.

Adam Idah frustrated after a chance goes begging against Azerbaijan


"He's frustrated himself. It certainly bothers him that he hasn't scored yet, but he's giving us an awful lot of attributes. He is the highest goalscorer we have all our under-age teams in our history.

"He's the record goalscorer through the under-age teams, so he is a natural goalscorer, but he just hasn't been able to take one for the senior international team yet. I'm sure that's a matter of time."

Connolly too has drawn a blank so far despite showing early promise after bursting into the senior team under Mick McCarthy, although he was unfortunate not to win penalties at crucial stages in both in the opening 3-2 qualifier defeat in Serbia and last month's heart-breaking reverse in Portugal.

Kenny said: "They were certain penalties that weren't given and he was fouled twice, so those are the margins from that point of view."

Idah, 20, and 21-year-old Connolly are effectively learning on the job with Ireland with neither enjoying regular football with their Premier League employers, and it is perhaps significant that teenager Troy Parrott, currently on loan at League One MK Dons from Tottenham, has opened his international account, albeit with a friendly double against Andorra.

Kenny said: "Ideally we'd want our young players playing more frequently and all our players playing more frequently. That's what we want, but sometimes that's not possible."

One man who is playing regularly is Wigan's Will Keane, the twin brother of England defender Michael, who has been called into the squad for the first time at the age of 28 after scoring four times in his last five games for League One Wigan.

Asked if he could feature in Baku, a cautious Kenny said: "We'll have to see on that. He certainly could be involved. Whether we take him in and start him quickly like that, maybe not.

"But he is a very, very good player. He's tall, his technique's very good and he's very intelligent."