Republic of Ireland v Norway, Thursday November 17, Aviva Stadium 7.45pm.

Live coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 7pm.

Live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, presented by Andrew O'Connor from 7:40pm.

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After a warmer than usual FAI Cup final at the weekend, the weather has turned towards more traditional November fare. With temperatures of 4c to 5c come kick-off and the chance of showers, it’s time to wrap up warm.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is looking to round out the year with a couple of wins as his side take on Norway and Malta in the space of four days.

First up they welcome Norway to the Aviva Stadium and having lost just once at home in their last nine games, the mood around the Ireland camp is positive.

September’s 3-2 victory over Armenia ensured that Ireland remain in Group B of the Nations League and as this is the final international break for Kenny before Euro 2024 qualifying gets underway against France in March, he is again looking to blood younger members of his squad.

Evan Ferguson and Will Smallbone have both been promoted from the Under-21 squad to the seniors while Bristol City’s Mark Sykes is in line for his first cap, having previously played for the Northern Ireland Under-21s.

Jamie McGrath’s form for Dundee United see him return to the squad, as does Darragh Lenihan who missed September’s games with Armenia and Scotland through injury.

Between the sticks Kenny continues to have an embarrassment of riches with Gavin Bazunu, Mark Travers and Caoimhin Kelleher all battling it out of the number one spot. Bazunu looks most likely to start against Norway while the manager could switch things up for Malta.

In attack Troy Parrott is out through injury so Callum Robinson looks likely to start in the support role behind Michael Obafemi, with Kenny still seemingly not keen on a pairing of Obafemi and Chiedozie Ogbene.

The Ireland boss confirmed that Ferguson will not start up front, but he is confident that the Brighton attacker has a very bright future.

"It is premature," Kenny said. "He has come in early, he hasn’t played that many games for Brighton’s first team. We rate him highly, he has come through the underage international teams and he has been very, very good."

Erling Haaland misses the trip to Dublin

Ireland supporters will have been left feeling slightly disappointed earlier this week when the news began to filter through that Norway’s star striker Erling Haaland is not in the squad for the visit to Dublin.

Haaland started the Premier League season with a bang, racing to 18 league goals in 13 games, but he has been struggling with injury in the last month or so and as manager Stale Solbakken explained, the decision was taken to give him time to recover.

"Erling has had a few troubled weeks," Solbakken said. "We have been in dialogue with Manchester City until the end. Based on the overall situation, the conclusion was that he is better trying to make it for the second match against Finland at home on Sunday.

"Everyone has seen how it has been lately for Erling. City have not used him unless they absolutely had to. He played the last 25 minutes against Fulham, nothing against Copenhagen and Sevilla. He's still not quite there."

Haaland is not Norway’s only absentee, with Sander Berge, Fredrik Aursnes, Joshua King, Kristoffer Ajer, Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Alexander Sorloth and Kristian Thorstvedt all missing out through injury, leaving the visitors looking light up front and in the centre.

There are still a few familiar faces in the Norwegian squad with Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard confirmed to lead out his country the Aviva. The absence of Haaland, King and Sorloth could see the Arsenal man deployed in a more advanced role than usual.

Southampton’s Mohamed Elyounoussi is also expected to start. The midfielder is the most experienced player in a youthful looking squad with uncapped trio Ola Brynhildsen, Hugo Vegard Vetlesen and Sivert Heggheim Mannsverk and hoping to make their debuts.

Stephen Kenny is hoping to end the year on a high


While Haaland’s absence may have raised expectations slightly for an Irish result, Kenny will not be changing his approach now that the most clinical striker currently playing is absent.

"I don’t think it changes that much," he said of the frontman’s absence. "Norway have a lot of players playing at a good level, they are all good players. The highest profile is their captain, Martin Odegaard, who is an exceptional player, for sure.

"They have players in La Liga and other top leagues, so they have shown themselves to be a good team."

"These two games are good preparation for us. It’s a chance to get the squad together to get more game time, more training time, and it’s a long gap between November and March.

"We want to make sure we hit the ground running when we come in. We want to pick a strong team tomorrow. We want a strong performance."

With a big crowd expected at the Aviva Stadium, the manager is hoping to round off the year at home with a win and he believes that the tickets sales and support from the Irish public are a vote of confidence is his players.

"We’re looking to improve and we’re not the finished article," he said.

"The games against Portugal home and away, Scotland home and away, Ukraine away, even the friendly here with Belgium, they were great games of football in my opinion, and the public can really relate to that.

"We have 45,000 already sold for a friendly with Norway, that’s encouraging, it inspires the players."

Republic of Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth).

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathan Collins (Wolverhampton Wanderers), John Egan (Sheffield United), Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Darragh Lenihan (Middlesbrough), Liam Scales (Aberdeen, on loan from Celtic), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Robbie Brady (Preston North End), Mark Sykes (Bristol City).

Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Burnley), Jeff Hendrick (Reading, on loan from Newcastle United), Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Will Smallbone (Stoke City, on loan from Southampton), Jamie McGrath (Dundee United).

Forwards: Michael Obafemi (Swansea City), Callum Robinson (Cardiff City), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Evan Ferguson (Brighton and Hove Albion), Callum O'Dowda (Cardiff City).

Follow the Republic of Ireland v Norway on Thursday via our liveblog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app, or watch live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player