Filip Filipovic/INPHO Jake O'Brien (file pic).
looking ahead

The 20-year-old in line to debut against Man City and every Irish player in the FA Cup this weekend

It’s a busy few days with an abundance of games.

Updated at 16.12


Swindon v Man City (8pm)

Ireland U21 international Jake O’Brien could be in line to make his debut against a Pep Guardiola-less Man City. The 20-year-old centre-back, who only moved permanently to England from Cork City last August, has just joined Swindon on loan from Crystal Palace

Saturday (games kick-off at 3pm unless stated otherwise)

Mansfield v Middlesbrough (12.15pm)

There is a considerable Irish contingent at Mansfield, including former senior international Stephen Quinn, as well as Harry Charsley, Stephen McLoughlin, Ryan Burke, John-Joe O’Toole and Aaron O’Driscoll, with the latter having recently spent time on loan with Longford.

For Middlesbrough, meanwhile, there could be a debut for Ireland international Aaron Connolly following his recent loan move from Brighton.

Bristol City v Fulham (12.30pm)

Callum O’Dowda and Max O’Leary could both feature for Bristol City, as they aim to overcome their Championship rivals. 

Fulham have Cyrus Christie on their books, though the full-back is unlikely to feature, given that he is out of favour currently amid talk that he could move on this month.

Burnley v Huddersfield (12.30pm)

Both have largely had to be content with being second-choice in the Premier League, but Irish centre-backs Nathan Collins and Kevin Long could be given a chance to impress when Burnley take on the Championship side.

Danny Grant has had a nightmare with injuries since joining Huddersfield from Bohemians at the start of last year and has consequently yet to make his first-team debut for the English club, but Saturday could be the perfect opportunity for Grant to finally feature if deemed fit enough.

Coventry City v Derby (12.30pm)

There is a significant Irish contingent at Derby with Jason Knight, Festy Ebosele, Eiran Cashin and Louie Watson, though the latter two youngsters have very much been on the periphery of the side this season.

Meanwhile, former Ireland U21 international Jordan Shipley will be hoping to get a rare chance for Coventry, with his only appearance so far this season coming in the EFL Cup.

Hartlepool United v Blackpool (12.30pm)

Gavan Holohan and Neill Byrne could line out for League Two outfit Hartlepool as they face Blackpool. Their opponents, who play two divisions above them, have 35-year-old Richard Keogh on their books.

Millwall v Crystal Palace (12.45pm)

Danny McNamara and Alex Pearce could both feature, as Millwall host Patrick Vieira’s men.

Barnsley v Barrow

William Hondermarck could add to his six appearances so far this season, as Barnsley host Barrow. For the League Two side, Dubliner Jamie Devitt is coming back from injury and so may not be available.

Boreham Wood v AFC Wimbledon

Connor Smith is currently injured but will still be in the dugout as assistant boss for National League side Boreham Wood against AFC Wimbledon, who have no Irish players on their books.

Leicester City v Watford

Back-up Watford goalkeeper Rob Elliot may get a rare opportunity when his side take on fellow Premier League club Leicester.

Newcastle United v Cambridge

Ciaran Clark and Jeff Hendrick have both struggled to get into the Newcastle starting XI of late, but they could be given a run-out in this weekend’s FA Cup tie. 39-year-old Wes Hoolahan could also potentially feature for Cambridge.

Peterborough United v Bristol Rovers

Jack Taylor and Sammie Szmodics could make an appearance for Darren Ferguson’s Championship strugglers, while Joey Barton’s League Two side have Glenn Whelan and Trevor Clarke on their books.

QPR v Rotherham

Jimmy Dunne is expected to feature for the hosts, while Rotherham have three Irish players in their squad — Chiedozie Ogbene, Joshua Kayode and Kieran Sadlier.

West Brom v Brighton

For West Brom, Dara O’Shea remains out with a long-term injury, though Callum Robinson could play, while Jayson Molumby is ineligible against his parent club.

Having found himself out of the starting XI of late, Shane Duffy could play for Brighton, while the Seagulls may also view it as an opportunity to play promising teens Evan Ferguson and Andrew Moran, after both made appearances in the EFL Cup earlier this season.

Wigan v Blackburn

James McClean and Will Keane could feature for the League One side, while Darragh Lenihan is club captain of the Championship promotion hopefuls.

Birmingham v Plymouth (5.30pm)

Ireland international Scott Hogan could feature for Birmingham as they host Plymouth.

Chelsea v Chesterfield (5.30pm)

Dubliner Gavin Gunning is expected to play for Chesterfield, as they travel to face Chelsea.

Hull City v Everton (5.30pm)

Sean McLoughlin and Jevon Mills could both be in contention to feature, as Hull host Everton. Whether club captain Seamus Coleman features for the Toffees is uncertain.

Swansea v Southampton (5.30pm)

Michael Obafemi and Ryan Manning may be involved for Swansea, while Shane Long and Will Smallbone — both of whom have had limited game time this season with the latter only just back from a long-term injury — might be given a chance for the Saints.

Yeovil v Bournemouth (5.45pm)

Former Ireland U21 international Joe Quigley could feature for the National League side, while Gavin Kilkenny, Mark Travers and Robbie Brady may line out for the Cherries.

Sunday (all games kick off at 2pm unless stated otherwise)

Luton v Harrogate (12.30pm)

Glen Rea could play for Championship side Luton, while Wicklow’s Simon Power may be involved for the League Two outfit.

Cardiff City v Preston

There is plenty of Irish interest in this particular fixture. Joel Bagan, Mark McGuinness and James Collins all represent the Welsh side, while Preston have several Irish players on their books with some more likely to feature than others — Sean Maguire, Alan Browne, Greg Cunningham, Adam O’Reilly, and Joe Rafferty.

Charlton Athletic v Norwich City

Charlton backup goalkeeper Stephen Henderson could be given a chance, having appeared twice already in the FA Cup this season. For Norwich, youngsters Adam Idah and Andrew Omobamidele may get an opportunity to pick up some invaluable game time.

Liverpool v Shrewsbury

After impressing of late, Caoimhín Kelleher may again be called on by Liverpool. Shrewsbury, meanwhile, have former Derry City winger Josh Daniels in their ranks.

Stoke City v Leyton Orient

Former Ireland underage international Jack Bonham has yet to play for Stoke since signing in the summer but could be given a rare opportunity this weekend. Shadrach Ogie, Aaron Drinan and Callum Reilly will all be hoping to feature for Leyton Orient.

Tottenham v Morecambe

After starting their League Cup tie during the week, Matt Doherty may get another chance for Spurs. Anthony O’Connor, Courtney Duffus, Shane McLoughlin and Ryan Delaney are all on the books for their League One opponents.

West Ham v Leeds

Darren Randolph, Conor CoventryArmstrong Oko-Flex and Mipo Odubeko are all part of West Ham’s squad, but they are quite far down the pecking order in terms of selection, so it would be a surprise if any of the quartet were handed a start.

Wolves v Sheffield United

While there are no Irish representatives in Wolves’ first team, David McGoldrick, Enda Stevens, John Egan and Conor Hourihane (on loan from Aston Villa) are all currently part of the Blades’ squad.

Nottingham Forest v Arsenal (5.10pm)

Harry Arter is the only Irish player who could potentially feature in this game, though whether he does is less than certain. The experienced midfielder is just back from a loan spell with Charlton and has yet to play for Forest this season.

Games taking place without Irish involvement: Kidderminster Harriers v Reading, Port Vale v Brentford (both 3pm Saturday). Man United v Aston  Villa (7.55pm Monday)

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