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What kind of form are Ireland's players in ahead of Martin O'Neill's squad announcement?

The Ireland boss picks his panel for the upcoming friendlies with Switzerland and Slovakia on Friday afternoon.

MARTIN O’NEILL IS in Dublin on Friday to name his squad for a double-header of friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium later this month.

The Derry man has promised to give some of those players on the fringes the chance to impress and secure a place on the plane for Euro 2016, and below we take a brief look at how the season is going for those in and around the international set-up.

Goalkeepers

West Ham United v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup - Fourth Round Replay - Upton Park West Ham's Darren Randolph. Source: Nick Potts

Darren Randolph (West Ham) – The Hammers’ back-up goalkeeper has been in inspired form during their FA Cup run and will line out against Manchester United on Sunday.

Rob Elliot (Newcastle United) – Currently number one as Tim Krul is out for the season, Elliot finds himself in the thick of a relegation battle but has arguably been their best player.

Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday) – Last year’s Championship goalkeeper of the season is playing both well and regularly for the Owls, currently sixth in the second tier.

Shay Given (Stoke City) – Hasn’t kicked a ball in a competitive game since coming off injured in Ireland’s 1-0 win over Germany back in April and recently visited Qatar to help speed up his recovery from knee surgery.

David Forde (Millwall) – Forde has lost his place in the Millwall team, these days in League One, to Jordan Archer and last played in January.

Stephen Henderson (Charlton Athletic) – Playing week-in week-out for Championship strugglers Charlton but has missed their last two games with a dead leg.

Mark Bunn (Aston Villa) – The Irish-qualified uncapped goalkeeper had a run of games in the Premier League’s worst team throughout January and February.

Colin Doyle (Blackpool) – Corkman Doyle is number one at Blackpool and finds himself in a League One relegation dog fight.

Defenders

Stoke City v Everton - Barclays Premier League - Britannia Stadium Seamus Coleman. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Seamus Coleman (Everton) – The Toffees defender has admitted he’s been frustrated at their form this term, but he has been solid.

Cyrus Christie (Derby County) – Suffered a dip in form at the back end of last season but has shown improvements in 34 appearances for the Rams.

John O’Shea (Sunderland) – A permanent fixture for the Black Cats as they look to avoid the drop but came off injured against Crystal Palace last week then lost Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for equaliser after coming on as a sub over the weekend.

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) – Clark has been in and out of Villa’s leaky backline — starting on the bench more often than not since the turn of the year.

Richard Keogh (Derby County) – An ever-present in the Derby defence and a consistent performer in his second spell as club captain after some unconvincing displays last season.

Marc Wilson (Stoke City) – It has been a really disappointing six months for Wilson, who has been sidelined through a medial collateral ligament injury since January.

Stephen Ward (Burnley) – Re-instated to the Burnley team just after Christmas, the full-back has completed every 90 minutes since then in the league as they’ve climbed to the top of the Championship.

Paul McShane (Reading) –  The Reading captain has missed the last two games through injury but was in good form before that.

Shane Duffy (Blackburn Rovers) – He’s been excellent for Rovers and the rumours are Crystal Palace want the former Everton man to replace Scott Dann.

Alex Pearce (Derby County – on-loan at Bristol City) – Joined Bristol City on loan to gain more regular football but still finding it tough to come by.

Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) – First choice left-back at Preston since joining last summer.

Kevin Foley (Ipswich Town) – Has found a new lease of life in the Ipswich midfield since joining Mick McCarthy’s men in January.

Midfielders

Stoke City v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League - Britannia Stadium Glenn Whelan. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) – At 32, he’s arguably been Ireland’s most consistent player at club level this term in the holding midfield role for Stoke.

James McCarthy (Everton) – Missed the guts of two months through a troublesome groin injury, but back playing regularly since the beginning of February.

Jeff Hendrick (Derby County) – The Dubliner has had a bit of a stop-start season for Derby, but returned to the starting line-up in recent weeks — although he was a second half sub in Tuesday’s loss to QPR. 

Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City) – Remains Ireland’s most creative outlet with eight Premier League assists so far for relegation-threatened Norwich.

Stephen Quinn (Reading) – Underwent knee surgery in October, but regained fitness to feature in the Reading team although he was absent from this week’s defeat to Huddersfield.

Robbie Brady (Norwich City) – Having a fine season and is bound to be an important player for Ireland at Euro 2016 either at full-back or the left side of midfield.

David Meyler (Hull City) – 21 starts and six substitutes for Hull, Meyler captained the Tigers in the FA Cup against Arsenal but was unfortunate enough to gift them the first goal.

Aiden McGeady (Everton – on-loan at Sheffield Wednesday) – Since joining the Owls on loan in January, McGeady has made six appearances — two of which were from the bench.

James McClean (West Brom) – The winger has been praised for his work ethic by Baggies boss Tony Pulis, who has put his faith in him despite a couple of controversies.

Harry Arter (Bournemouth) – Suffered heartbreak off-the-field but has showed his professionalism in Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side. Missed last weekend with a calf problem.

Alan Judge (Brentford) – Knocking on the door for his senior debut with an incredible 14 goals and 10 assists in the Championship for the Bees.

Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth) – The Derry midfielder has played just 10 minutes 2016 as he’s been mainly an unused substitute.

Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City) – Rediscovering his best form at Cardiff with eight goals and four assists.

Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers) – Paul Lambert’s arrival at Rovers has coincided with the Meath man’s run of games in the heart of the Rovers midfield.

Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City) – The in-form 27-year-old is doing his chances of a call-up no harm at Birmingham.

Darron Gibson (Everton) – Hasn’t played in the Premier League since December and really should’ve pushed for a loan move away from Goodison.

Jack Byrne (Manchester City – on-loan at SC Cambuur) – The loan spell appears to have been a good decision as Byrne has made 22 appearances in the Eredivisie with two goals and as many assists.

Forwards

Southampton v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League - St Mary's Stadium Shane Long. Source: Paul Harding

Shane Long (Southampton) – 10 goals for the Saints striker but he sat out last weekend’s league game after coming off injured against Bournemouth.

Jon Walters (Stoke City) – Ireland’s qualifying hero remains one of Stoke’s big players despite the fact that they now possess talents such as Shaqiri, Bojan and Arnautovic.

Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) – The 35-year-old Ireland skipper has one goal from one game in the MLS after it got back underway last weekend.

Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town) – Injured for the Tractor Boys’ last two matches but should recover from the calf problem in time to feature. Hasn’t been as prolific as last season but has eight goals in 31 appearances.

David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town) – A hamstring problem has put him out of action since December.

Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids) - Doyle played 90 minutes for the Rapids in their opening game of the 2016 campaign — a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

Simon Cox (Reading) - Finding it difficult to come by games at Reading, Cox has played nine times in the Championship as a substitute.

Anthony Stokes (Celtic – on-loan at Hibernian) – Dropped down to the Scottish Championship and has two goals in five games for Hibs.

Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) – Still banging the goals in for the Dons (19 in 34) but a thigh muscle strain has put him out of the last three matches.

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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