There are three new faces in the provisional Republic of Ireland squad to face Gibraltar and Georgia in the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Pádraig Amond, James Collins, and Mark Travers have all been included in Mick McCarthy’s first squad.
Amond has been in excellent form for Newport County, scoring memorable FA Cup goals against Leicester City and Man City this season.
“Pádraig Amond has done very well in the FA Cup,” McCarthy said. “He’s scored goals all season at Newport!”
Collins, 28, is League One’s top scorer, having plundered 20 league goals already this season for Luton Town.
The two in-form strikers join Shane Long, Sean Maguire, Ronan Curtis, Aiden O’Brien, Davind McGoldrick, and Scott Hogan as McCarthy’s forward options.
Travers is a teenage goalkeeper on the books at Premier League club Bournemouth, and will compete with Darren Randolph, Kieran Westwood, and Kieran O’Hara, Caoimhin Kelleher for a place in the final squad.
“James and Padraig have had very good seasons,” McCarthy said today. “They deserve the recognition of being called up to the squad.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Glenn Whelan has also been included in the provisional panel, with McCarthy citing the veteran midfielder’s club partnership with international teammate Conor Hourihane – who has also been included – as a factor.
“Glenn Whelan is playing very well,” the Ireland boss claimed.
“He has a good partnership with Conor Hourihane at club level. I’ve been impressed with him!”
Aiden McGeady and Daryl Horgan have also been included, as has James McCarthy.
McCarthy has plenty of midfield options with Jeff Hendrick, Alan Browne, Harry Arter, David Meyler, Shaun Williams, Robbie Brady, James McClean, Alan Judge, and Callum O’Dowda joining Whelan, Hourihane, McGeady, and Horgan in the squad.
Jon Walters, Michael Obafemi, Ciaran Clark, and Callum Robinson all miss out through injury.
The final squad will be named before March 17th, with the Boys in Green facing Gibraltar away on the 23rd.
Ireland will then host Georgia three days later in McCarthy’s second game at the helm.
Republic of Ireland Provisional Squad
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Kieran O’Hara (Macclesfield Town*), Mark Travers (Bournemouth)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Richard Keogh (Derby County), John Egan (Sheffield United), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Kevin Long (Burnley), Jimmy Dunne (Sunderland*), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers), Stephen Ward (Burnley)
Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Harry Arter (Cardiff City*), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), David Meyler (Coventry City*), Shaun Williams (Millwall), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City), Daryl Horgan (Hibernian)
Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Scott Hogan (Sheffield United*), Aiden O’Brien (Millwall), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton Town), Padraig Amond (Newport County)