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Dunne can play two matches in four days, but we have plenty of options - Tardelli

Meanwhile, Marc Wilson and David Forde both took full part in training today.

Richard Dunne, pictured at training
Richard Dunne, pictured at training

IRELAND ASSISTANT MANAGER Marco Tardelli has hinted that QPR defender Richard Dunne could be in line to start the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Sweden.

However, Tardelli emphasised that the team had “plenty of options” at the back, neglecting to say for definite how prominently Dunne would figure in the two games.

When asked if the QPR defender was fit enough to take part in the games, Tardelli said: “I think so, but we have many options. He can play two matches.

“Richard is important for us. He’s very strong physically.”

Meanwhile, both Marc Wilson and David Forde took full part in training today, seemingly allaying concerns that they would be unable to feature in the upcoming games.

He also explained that Anthony Pilkington was in good health, despite departing the training ground prematurely.

“Pilkington hasn’t a problem. He’s following his [normal club training] programme.

“It’s tough to decide on the players, because all the players are very fit. We have good options for Sweden.”

The Italian claimed that the Norwich player would not be fit to play the entire duration of the game against Sweden, but said that “45 or 50 minutes” was “a possibility”. He also suggested that the management were unconcerned about Pilkington’s lack of game time at international level.

“Many players have played for the first time in important matches — he’s a professional player.”

Tardelli, who said there was “no special plan” to stop star Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claimed Ireland would play to win both games. But the assistant boss added that failing to pick up maximum points would be far from disastrous.

“We want to win both matches,” he said. “Four points [would be sufficient], but it’s better for us to win the watches.”

On new Everton signing James McCarthy, Tardelli said he was pleased that the midfielder had finally secured a big move, but explained that he still has much to prove.

“He must show that he’s a good player.

“Something [must] change in his mind. Now he’s in a different team — an Everton team that wants to win.”

In addition, he said that another Irish player in the headlines on Deadline Day, Shane Long, was unlikely to be affected by the ostensible lack of faith shown in him by West Brom, after they considered selling him to Hull.

“He’s very happy,” claimed the Italian, who insisted that confidence wasn’t an issue for Long right now.

Meanwhile, another striker rumoured to be in Trap’s plans, Simon Cox, played in the unusual role of left wing in training today.

“Simon Cox is a good player — he can play left, right and striker,” said Tardelli. “But I don’t know if he’ll play against Sweden.”

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