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4 players we'd like to see in next week's Ireland squad

On Monday, Martin O’Neill will confirm the group of players who will face Wales and Iceland.

John Egan

Brentford v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Source: Steven Paston

SHANE DUFFY HAS been ruled out for the upcoming Ireland games, while Richard Keogh is struggling with a calf injury and Andy Boyle has played just once since joining Preston from Dundalk. Consequently, there may be at least one central defensive slot up for grabs when Martin O’Neill names his squad on Monday. Egan, the son of a Kerry GAA legend, could consequently be in contention for a first-ever place in the squad. Named in the League One team of the season last year, he has thrived since moving to Championship side Brentford, signing a new contract recently.

Conor Hourihane

Aston Villa v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship - Villa Park Source: Nick Potts

Hourihane has been named in the provisional Ireland squad before but has never made the final panel. The 26-year-old was a revelation for Barnsley earlier this season, winning the Championship player of the month for September and subsequently earning a move to Aston Villa. The Cork native has taken a while to adapt to his new surroundings, with Villa enduring a bad run, but Hourihane scored a first goal for his new club recently and surely now deserves recognition at international level.

Greg Cunningham

Preston North End v Arsenal - Emirates FA Cup - Third Round - Deepdale Source: EMPICS Sport

Stephen Ward has made the left-back slot his own for Ireland, while Robbie Brady has also played there on occasion without ever really convincing in the role. With Brady suspended for the Wales match, there is no obvious back-up for Ward that has been regularly picked previously. Cunningham has been on the periphery of the Irish squad for a while now, though Martin O’Neill tends to exclude him from final squads. Nevertheless, the 26-year-old Galway native has been in excellent form for Preston in recent times — he was their player of the season last year and has featured 37 times for the team this season. Consequently, he certainly merits a place in the final squad for the Wales game.

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Daryl Horgan

Derby County v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship - Pride Park Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

Horgan was named in the final Ireland squad to face Austria back in November along with another then-League of Ireland player Andy Boyle. Both have since moved to Preston and while Boyle has played just once for Simon Grayson’s side, Horgan has been a regular, featuring 11 times for the Championship team. So having produced some impressive displays since moving across the water, the 24-year-old winger deserves to retain his place for the Wales and Iceland games.

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Paul Fennessy

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