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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018

Ireland manager out to avoid last-minute transfers clashing with crucial World Cup qualifier

Martin O’Neill will urge his players to get their business done before they depart for Tbilisi next month.

O'Neill was speaking in Kilkenny yesterday.
O'Neill was speaking in Kilkenny yesterday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL WILL urge Irish players moving clubs to have their deals wrapped up before they get together for the upcoming World Cup qualifier with Georgia.

The Boys in Green travel to Tbilisi for an important Group D fixture on 2 September, but final preparations in Dublin and the 4,800km journey east is set to clash with transfer deadline day as the window shuts at 11pm on 31 August.

A year ago, the Ireland manager gave Jeff Hendrick permission to leave the squad ahead of a friendly with Oman in order to tie up his £10.5 million switch from Derby County to Burnley.

However, this time around, he would prefer if business was done early.

“I don’t want somebody to step off the plane and be thinking ‘I just want to complete this’,” O’Neill said yesterday. “If you haven’t got it completed by the time we get going… this time it’s a wee bit different as we’re travelling a distance.

“I’m sure there will be last-minute things and I’m sure for all my great intentions, somebody will say ‘oh there’s a loan on now’. That is something I would like to point out, if business could be done earlier so we have total concentration on these games.”

Given the nature of football and the regularity with which late transfers take place, it could prove difficult but O’Neill says he intends to talk to those who may be in line for a move.

He added: “We could have two or three and that would be something that I’d give them a buzz about in August time and say ‘this is the itinerary, this is what’s happening, this is where we are and, honestly, you have to sort this out’.”

Darren Randolph Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Ireland’s number one goalkeeper Darren Randolph is one player who has found a new club as the arrival of England international Joe Hart to West Ham spelled the end of his time with the Hammers.

The Wicklow stopper has agreed to join Middlesbrough in principle and O’Neill restated that he has total faith in the 30-year-old.

“I’ve always been pretty impressed by Randolph,” O’Neill said. “He stepped in when Shay [Given] picked up that injury against Germany and, for us at international level, I don’t think he’s really looked back.

“Yes, he came out to punch in one game and missed – everybody’s done that. But overall, I’ve been pretty impressed. I don’t think competition for places is a bad thing. I wouldn’t want anybody to get too comfortable.

“He genuinely enjoys it at international level, it’s always been good for his own career and I’ll see what develops. And [Keiren] Westwood, I’m pleased when he turns up — delighted! He is an exceptionally-talented goalkeeper.”

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Ben Blake

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