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Crawford's Eiran Cashin headache continues on eve of Ireland's crucial qualifier

“We’re still waiting on the paperwork. The people behind the scenes are working around the clock to get it done. It still hasn’t got over the line, yet.”

Eiran Cashin has impressed for Derby County this season.
Eiran Cashin has impressed for Derby County this season.
Image: PA

JIM CRAWFORD IS hopeful that the FAI can win a race against time to ensure Derby County centre back Eiran Cashin is available for tomorrow’s crucial Under-21 European Championship qualifier with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Republic of Ireland boss says a decision will be made by tonight about whether he can be included for the first of his side’s triple header, but admitted there is still a doubt about if the Fifa requirements regarding his eligibility can be met in time for the clash with Montenegro on Monday.

Their group campaign comes to a close against Italy on 14 June, by which point Ireland will hope to be in a play-off for qualification.

Cashin was born in England and qualifies for through a grandparent. The process of securing his passport and citizenship is ongoing, and Crawford was up front about the nature of the situation.

“We’re still waiting on the paperwork. The people behind the scenes are working around the clock to get it done. It still hasn’t got over the line, yet. That’s where we’re at with Eiran.

“We hope we have him available. That’s the plan. He’s come in and trained well. He’s played in the Championship for a number of games, he’s played well and it wasn’t that he was a bit part player for Derby.

derby-county-v-coventry-city-sky-bet-championship-pride-park-stadium Derby's Eiran Cashin. Source: PA

“He had a fantastic season. He’s an addition to the squad and to have him available for selection would be great for everybody.

“We had a staff meeting last night and we do have to have a point where we say, ‘that’s it, we just carry on with the starting XI and substitutes’. You have to take everything into consideration.

The players on bench, can they make an impact? What if this happened, what if that happened? There is a lot of thought that goes into it. To have Eiran over the line with his passport and citizenship, that gives us extended possibilities. Whether he’s starting or on the bench. We have a time in our heads that we just have to move on.

“We’ve got until this evening, at some stage today we have to draw a line on it for the Bosnia game. If things don’t go well with regards to that today then we have tomorrow [for Montenegro], assuming to close of business. After that it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and it’s Tuesday. We just have to take each hour as it comes with this situation.”

While the Bosnia-Herzegovina players are coming into this fixture on the back of a one-week break following the end of their domestic campaign, the majority of the British-based members of the Ireland squad have been out of commission since 7 May.

Regardless, Crawford has been buoyed by the development of his players over the last 18 months with an historic qualification in sight.

“Ability, belief, I think there are a lot of players who want to show how good they are, because there has been a lot said about nine under-21 players who were promoted to the senior team.

“I have spoken to the players involved in the group numerous times now and that’s where they want to go. They see that there is a visible pathway for them to get to the senior team. If they can come to the 21s and put in positive performances and then go back to their clubs and build on that, there is every opportunity that they could get called up to the senior squad.

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jim-crawford Ireland Under-21 boss Jim Crawford. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“There is a real drive, appetite and bullet proof determination to where they want to go. We’ve had instances with players where they have been in cap and then they get a call for the senior team and their eyes light up.

“That’s everybody’s ambition. As soon as they start kicking a ball they want to play for the senior international team. That’s what I get from this group. They are all driven. The ability is there, a fantastic team ethic, work ethic and it’s a privilege to be the head coach of this group of players and staff.

“There is certainly momentum with us,” Crawford continued. “We played Sweden at home and won 1-0. Played them away we won 2-0. So we’re keeping clean sheets and scoring goals from open play. There is that momentum but you look at it with international football. How many months ago is that? A lot of water has gone under the bridge.

“As soon as they come into camp we are trying to regenerate their thinking, that momentum. But it’s not about what causes momentum, it’s who causes it. Who drives the momentum? Top, top players are the ones who create the momentum.

“That was said in our first meeting when the lads came in. Training has been excellent. We had a post-season, pre-camp programme for the players and to the letter of the law they carried it out.”

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