The busy Christmas period is (mostly) playing out up and down the length of old Blighty with the top tiers of English football getting put through their paces, while the rest of us sit back and gorge on the perennial festival of football.
But with a discerning eye on the Irish in action across the holiday period, of course, keeping in mind that the transfer window opens up in January, which should afford certain players to pack their bags and move on to pastures new.
In a recent chat with the Republic of Ireland national team manager, Stephen Kenny again stressed his preference that players play regularly at their clubs, but said that he would not be sending out a message to those who are resigned to bench duties at their respective clubs.
"I can't give one generic message to all my players," said Kenny. "Everyone’s individual situation is different, and the clubs control their destiny sometimes.
"I prefer if players are playing regularly, and some players aren’t, and that is not ideal for us, we know that. We need players to play as regularly as possible and that is what we desire."
So which Irish players could really do with a move in the January window?
The arrival of Eddie Howe to St James’ Park could have kick-started Jeff Hendrick’s career at the Toon, considering the manager has a style that should suit the Dubliner’s natural game. Yet Hendrick still finds himself down the pecking order in the middle of the park with only 70 league minutes so far this season.
That could all change, of course, as the manager will need to rotate and reinvent a struggling side who are in a perilous position. Either way, Hendrick’s recent performances in green have surely been monitored by top-half Championship clubs looking to bring a bit of experience into the middle for a Premier League push in 2022.
The Norwich striker has firmly established himself as a first-team squad member at Carrow Road as well as becoming a regular in Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad. Idah looked to have cemented that lead striker role for Ireland, however, his lack of club action has hampered his progression and he now finds himself in a competition for selection.
Is there anything harder than for a young striker to establish himself in the top tier when playing for one of the relegation-threatened few?
Game time turns into a lesson in chasing down players, tracking back and generally having little or no time to hone your skills in front of goal. Several Championship clubs would benefit from someone like Idah to lead the line throughout the second half of the season, but Norwich may be reluctant to let go anyone from the forward line as the battle for survival continues into the New Year.
A tough one to call for the St Mirren playmaker, as McGrath’s form at the Paisley club is what got him into the Ireland team in the first place. The club have implied that they are expecting to lose the attacking midfielder sooner rather than later, so it should be an interesting January for McGrath.
Like Chiedozie Ogbene at Rotherham, form on the international stage should have alerted higher profile clubs to take a chance during the January window. The only downside to a move for either player would be the fact that they would need to establish themselves at their new club ahead of the March international window to maintain their progression in green.
It seems a long time now since Aaron Connolly lit up the Premier League stage, scoring twice on his first league start against Tottenham back in October 2019. Two years on, the 21-year-old striker has not been able to establish himself as a goalscoring centre-forward in the top tier, despite making over 40 league appearances up to the end of last season.
This season has seen Connolly become very much a squad player, and while injuries have definitely contributed to his lack of first team action, a recent and rare start in Brighton’s home defeat to Wolves showed that the striker is not performing at his optimum level.
The south coast club are well outside the relegation zone – though Sunday's win over Brentford was a welcome change in form – so they could afford to allow the young striker to drop a division for the second half of the season to see if he can fire up that obvious talent and start hitting the back of the net more consistently.
Recent games in green have shown that Connolly will always create space and conjure up chances in front of goal, however, a confidence-building spell at a team looking to gain Premier League promotion should benefit player, club and country.
While a loan move would be great for the young Cork keeper, it is highly unlikely that Kelleher will go out on loan in January, having signed up to be Liverpool number two for the season.
The young Anfield prospect is in a prime position at the club and has already made several first team appearances, playing League Cup games - he was the penalty shootout hero in the quarter-final win over Leicester - and taking advantage of Alisson’s long-haul international windows, which has led to Premier League appearances.
Kelleher will challenge Gavin Bazunu for that Ireland number one jersey in future seasons, but for the time being, it looks like he will also have to play the back-up role on the international scene as well.
Kelleher knows that he has a big call to make at the end of the season and to decide if his future remains at Anfield, out on loan, or a transfer to a new club to establish himself as a reliable number one.
One Ireland international who is almost certain to move clubs in January is Cyrus Christie. The Fulham defender has barely kicked a ball at Craven Cottage all season after being frozen out by manager Marco Silva, and while out of contract at the end of the campaign, he will surely want to leave in January.
A wealth of experience yet still only 29 years old, Christie was called up to the Ireland squad as back-up earlier in the Autumn despite his club crisis, and it shows that the Ireland manager still believes that he has something to offer.
Rarely puts a foot wrong when representing Ireland on either the right or left flank, Christie has been left out of the conversation amidst the Seamus Coleman-Matt Doherty debate, however, a new start in the New Year can see him work his way back into being a regular in Stephen Kenny’s squads on the road to Euro 2024.
With such an abundance of talent in the goalkeeping department with the emergence of Gavin Bazunu, Caoimhín Kelleher and Mark Travers, it would be easy enough to consign Darren Randolph and his time as Ireland number one to the history books.
However, the talented and very experienced goalkeeper is only 34 years old - youngish by goalkeeping standards - and while he has not played all season, being third choice at West Ham behind Lukas Fabianski and Alphonse Areola, the Bray native would be a shrewd signing for any Championship club in 2022.
Manager Stephen Kenny has not ruled Randolph out of returning to the Ireland setup and would surely keep him back around the squad, at least, were he to make a move and start playing competitive football again. The young keepers are holding court at the moment, however, the experience and reliability of one such as Randolph is a great option should things need changing.