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5 Ireland players we're hoping to see feature against the US tonight

Cyrus Christie and David McGoldrick are set to start, while further changes from the Scotland game are expected.

1. Darren Randolph

Darren Randolph, Shay Given and David Forde Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

RANDOLPH HAS BEEN a virtual ever present in the Birmingham team since signing for the club at the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign.

David Forde at the moment seems nailed on as the number one Ireland goalkeeper, but at 27, Randolph is a better bet in the long term.

The other alternatives in the squad — Shay Given and Rob Elliot — are short of first-team football, therefore Randolph would seem to be the most deserving of a chance to impress tonight.

He has won just two caps in his Ireland career so far, so it’s important that the Bray native starts to acquire as much international experience as possible in case a Forde injury necessitates his involvement on a bigger occasion.

2. Cyrus Christie

Cyrus Christie 11/11/2014 Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Martin O’Neill said at yesterday’s press that Christie would start this game, so barring a late injury, we will almost definitely see the Derby man tonight.

Seamus Coleman aside, Ireland aren’t exactly blessed with options at right-back, so news of Christie’s availability is a much-needed boost to the squad.

The 22-year-old has been in excellent form for Derby, and Roy Keane even recently suggested the Ireland management would be open to playing him at left-back — another problematic position for Ireland, with Stephen Ward the only obvious natural alternative.

Moreover, Martin O’Neill is known to be fond of playing full-backs with plenty of physicality — at Celtic, for instance, he often deployed centre-halves in the role — and at six-foot-plus, Christie fits the bill in that regard.

3. Robbie Brady

Robbie Brady Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Injuries and indifferent form means Robbie Brady has continued to sit on the periphery of the Ireland squad since Martin O’Neill took over last year.

Yet Brady did feature from the bench against Scotland and while he ultimately failed to make a decisive impact, he impressed nonetheless.

Ireland’s set-piece deliveries improved immeasurably when he came on, even if he can’t emulate the pace provided by the likes of Aiden McGeady and James McClean on the wing.

He has made seven appearances in the Premier League for Hull this season, but has only once played the full 90 minutes, but if he can make an impact against the US tonight and improve his consistency at club level, the 22-year-old has every chance of adding considerably to the nine Ireland caps he has earned thus far.

4. David McGoldrick

David McGoldrick 17/11/2014 Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Another player that O’Neill has suggested will start tonight, it is hoped that McGoldrick will bring something different to the forward line.

Daryl Murphy compared McGoldrick to Wes Hoolahan last month, such is creativity, while the striker also clearly knows where the goal is, after 14 goals in 31 appearances for Ipswich last season.

The 26-year-old former Nottingham Forest man has continued to show decent form this season, with five goals in 16 appearances helping to guide Ipswich to fourth in the Championship.

And McGoldrick has struck up a useful partnership with fellow Ireland international Murphy at Portman Road, so with Robbie Keane unavailable and Jon Walters presumably exhausted from his tireless 90-minute shift in Scotland, it would be no surprise to see the Ipswich duo playing together up front at some point.

5. Anthony Stokes

Anthony Stokes Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Granted, it’s in the relatively low standard of the Scottish league, but 55 goals in 97 starts for Celtic is still a very respectable record, particularly when you consider other well-regarded strikers such as Georgios Samaras (48 goals in 103 starts) have failed to match that tally while at the Scottish side.

Moreover, Stokes is versatile, while his proficiency from set pieces is obvious. He has played in less advanced positions this season, and could suit Ireland, given Martin O’Neill’s fondness for playing attackers in wide positions.

Jonathan Walters did reasonably well against Scotland — earning the man-of-the-match award for his toil — but not so much so that he should be considered an automatic starter from hereon in.

Assuming Shane Long continues his good form at Southampton, Stokes will probably still struggle to make the starting XI, but if Ireland are in need of a goal in a crucial qualifier, there would be few better candidates to turn to on the bench.

McCarthy was ‘desperate’ to play in Scotland game says Martinez>

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