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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 28 February, 2020

The Irishman set to captain his club for 'the biggest game in their history' and more crucial matches this weekend

Michael Doyle is hoping to help Notts County avoid dropping to non-league level for the first time ever.

THERE IS A big weekend coming up in English football.

On what will be the final day of action for the Football League teams, several clubs are still aiming to achieve promotion at one end of the table and battling to avoid relegation at the other.

Irish midfielder Michael Doyle is set to captain Notts County in what is being described as the “biggest game in their history,” while there are several other pivotal fixtures taking place.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the key Irish players likely to be involved in the coming days.

1. Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough)

Middlesbrough v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Riverside Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Bray native, who was recently named in the Championship Team of the Year, will be hoping his Middlesbrough side can win away to Rotherham. If they manage to claim three points, and Derby fail to beat West Brom, Boro will earn a spot in the playoffs.

2. Richard Keogh (Derby)

Bristol City v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship - Ashton Gate Source: EMPICS Sport

Recently hailed by boss Frank Lampard as an “incredible professional” and winner of his club’s Player of the Season award, Richard Keogh will be hoping to help Derby earn the victory required at home to West Brom that will guarantee them a spot in the Championship play-offs. Should they slip up, both Middlesbrough and Callum O’Dowda’s Bristol City could potentially steal the final spot. 

3. Kieran Sadlier (Doncaster)

Soccer - Scottish Premiership - St Mirren v Celtic - St Mirren Park Source: Jeff Holmes

The former Cork City midfielder, who only joined Doncaster in January, will be aiming to help them prevail in Saturday’s crucial match. The League One side are a point ahead of Peterborough (who have former St Pat’s goalkeeper Conor O’Malley on their books). Sadlier has been used mainly off the bench of late, but has made 16 appearances in total since joining the club in January. The promotion-chasing team play Coventry at home and must better Peterborough’s result against Burton to clinch a play-off spot.

4. Liam Kinsella (Walsall)

Walsall v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - Banks's Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

The former Ireland U21 international will be hoping to help Walsall avoid relegation. Son of the former senior Ireland international Mark, his team need to win away to Shrewsbury and hope other results go their way. They are currently a point off survival in 22nd.

5. Graham Carey (Plymouth)

Doncaster Rovers v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet League Two - Keepmoat Stadium Source: Dave Howarth

After a remarkable season last year in which he scored 16 goals in all competitions, Dublin-born attacking midfielder Carey has not quite managed to hit the same heights this time around, finding the net five times as Plymouth have struggled. They are currently in the drop zone by virtue of goal difference, and with Walsall, Scunthorpe, Southend and Wimbledon all battling to avoid the drop, they will likely need a win in order to survive.

6. Simon Cox (Southend)

Charlton Athletic v Southend United - Sky Bet League One - The Valley Source: EMPICS Sport

Now at Southend, the 32-year-old former Ireland international’s team are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, with Plymouth, Walsall and Scunthorpe all hot on their tails. Therefore, anything other than a victory at home to Sunderland will almost certainly consign them to League Two next season. Despite his side’s woes, the experienced striker has had a decent campaign on an individual level, scoring 17 times in all competitions.

7. Shane McLoughlin (AFC Wimbledon)

AFC Wimbledon v Millwall - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Cherry Red Records Stadium Source: Steven Paston

The New York-born former Ireland underage international, who joined the club from Ipswich back in January, will be seeking to help AFC Wimbledon secure at least a point, which would effectively guarantee their survival, away to already-relegated Bradford. Former Dundalk winger Dylan Connolly could also feature for Wally Downes’ team.

8. Michael Doyle (Notts County)

Notts County v Exeter City - Sky Bet League Two - Meadow Lane Source: Zac Goodwin

Notts County must beat Swindon and hope Macclesfield lose at home to Cambridge to avoid being relegated out of the Football League for the first time ever. In 37-year-old midfielder Michael Doyle, who has one senior Ireland cap to his name, they have a player who knows the lower leagues better than most, with the Dubliner having racked up over 600 appearances in English football over the course of a 16-year career. Former Ireland U21 international Jim O’Brien is also likely to be included in the team’s starting XI.

9. Kieran O’Hara (Macclesfield)

West Ham United v Macclesfield Town - Carabao Cup - Third Round - London Stadium Source: Joe Giddens

The 23-year-old goalkeeper, on loan from Manchester United, is set to start for Macclesfield’s crunch encounter on Saturday at home to Cambridge. Given that Sol Campbell’s side boast a far superior goal difference to relegation rivals Notts County, a point should be enough to see them over the line. 23-year-old Cork-born centre-back Fiacre Kelleher, an Oxford United loanee, is also in line to feature for the League Two strugglers.

10. Ryan Sweeney (Mansfield)

West Bromwich Albion v Mansfield Town - Carabao Cup - Second Round - The Hawthorns Source: EMPICS Sport

The former Ireland U21 international has been a regular at the heart of Mansfield’s defence this season, and joined on a permanent deal from Stoke in January after a successful loan spell. The 22-year-old’s side face an absolutely crucial match away to MK Dons, who are only behind Mansfield on goal difference, with a victory set to see them promoted at their rivals’ expense. 33-year-old Letterkenny-born goalkeeper Conrad Logan is also expected to start for Mansfield

11. Pierce Sweeney (Exeter)

Bristol Rovers v Exeter City - Pre Season Friendly - Memorial Stadium Source: Simon Galloway

Sweeney, who is part of the Exeter defence alongside fellow Irish youngster and West Brom loanee Dara O’Shea, is likely to be included for his side against Forest Green Rovers. They trail seventh-place Newport by a point, and need to better their result in order to make the League Two play-offs.

12. Padraig Amond (Newport)

Newport County v Manchester City - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Rodney Parade Source: Nick Potts

The 31-year-old striker has scored an impressive 22 goals in all competitions this season and was recently rewarded for his fine club form, particularly in the FA Cup, with a call-up to the provisional Ireland squad. An excellent season could now be about to get better. In a game in which Dublin-born centre-back Mark O’Brien is also expected to feature, Newport visit Morecambe and need a win to secure their place in the play-offs.

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to discuss all the week’s rugby news.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Paul Fennessy

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