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Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 20 January, 2019

Irish goalkeeper David Forde's Euro 2016 hopes have been given a boost

The 35-year-old stopper lost his place in the Ireland side earlier this year.

David Forde lost his place in the Millwall side earlier this season.
David Forde lost his place in the Millwall side earlier this season.

DAVID FORDE’S HOPES of making Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad have been given a boost, as the goalkeeper finally looks set to be given a run in the Millwall first XI.

Having started his side’s first three League One games this season, the 35-year-old Irish international was dropped in favour of Scottish youngster Jordan Archer.

Before Saturday, Forde hadn’t started in the league since August, but after Archer was sent off in the 25th minute of the 3-0 loss to Gillingham, the Galway native made his return to the first team from the bench.

Millwall manager Neil Harris criticised his 22-year-old first-choice goalkeeper, Archer, after he brought down Cody McDonald following a defensive mix-up with Byron Webster.

“Today is a learning curve,” Harris told reporters. “He will learn that concentration does not start on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. It begins from the moment the last game ends. He has had a stop-start week in training.”

With Archer set to be suspended for the coming games, Forde will likely be given a chance to impress and potentially win back his first-team spot.

It has been a bad year for Forde, as he was part of the Millwall team relegated from the Championship last season, while he also lost his place in the Irish side, with both Shay Given and Darren Randolph preferred to the experienced stopper, who has 23 caps for the Boys in Green, at various points.

Forde has featured regularly in Ireland’s squads during the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, but given his lack of game time at club level, he may come under pressure from Rob Elliot, who has been in impressive form with Newcastle in the Premier League of late.

While Given and Randolph have also struggled for game time with their clubs, Keiren Westwood and Stephen Henderson have both been starting regularly in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton respectively, though neither are expected to make Ireland’s 23-man panel travelling to France this summer.

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Paul Fennessy

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