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The 5 Irish Players With The Most To Gain From Tonight's Friendly With Iceland

The 5 Irish Players With The Most To Gain From Tonight's Friendly With Iceland
By Mikey Traynor

Contrary to popular belief, friendlies are not meaningless.

Yes, Wales and Romania have been game to game the FIFA rankings system by not playing friendlies as it turns out that due to the lack of a competitive multiplier it can hurt your ranking even if you win... But there's.. Hang on what were we saying? Oh yeah, friendlies, they are important.

When you consider how many regular first-team players are unavailable for tonight's match with Iceland, it's clear that a number of fringe players will be asked to step up.

This is good news for Ireland fans, as those determined to impress will surely look to play positive football, so we've picked out a few guys that we will be very excited to see should they be called upon by Martin O'Neill.

Daryl Horgan

It has to be time for his chance.

Were Horgan to start, or be introduced from the bench, the crowd would undoubtedly raise the noise levels as there is a noticeable buzz around the Irish fans for the former Dundalk man.

Direct, attacking football is what everyone who attends or tunes in tonight wants to see, even if we shouldn't expect it, and Horgan helps make that happen if he's on the pitch.

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While James McClean has locked down one of the wings with his performances in this campaign, Horgan could put his hand up for the other, or the first impact-sub role, if he dazzles at the Aviva.

Conor Hourihane

Our dependency on 34-year-old Wes Hoolahan was clear to see for anyone who watched Wales game, as we struggled badly to keep the ball and string passes together in the opposition half.

After a fantastic season so far in the Championship, it's clear that Hourihane is confident on the ball, can pick a pass, and will contribute goals and assists from midfield. We badly need that, so a strong showing from Hourihane would be a big boost in this regard.

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We've got a lot of midfielders, but Hourihane's ability to support an attack is not a trait that many possess. If he gets a run, he's got a chance to make a statement to the boss.

Aiden McGeady

This time last year the suggestion that McGeady could benefit from a friendly would be met with a laugh, but the former Celtic man is having a renaissance this season and if his exciting cameo against Wales didn't do it for him, a good performance tonight can convince those who refuse to give him the time of day that's he a different prospect when he's confident.

If he plays like he has been doing for Preston all season, the doubters will see that he still has something to offer the Irish setup.

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Andy Boyle

Having worked his way into the Preston side since his move from Dundalk, Boyle could benefit from the injury mini-crisis at the position and prove he can handle international football.

A start would be great, but even a sub appearance would be a good chance for Andy Boyle, as someone who will be in and around the squad for the foreseeable future, to get himself into the discussion for life after O'Shea and Keogh.

John Egan

There's a lot of positivity surrounding the Brentford man, who like Boyle would benefit greatly from a run with the reinforcements at centre-back for tonight so thin.

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Despite his continually impressive season in the Championship, there will be many watching tonight who have yet to see him play so there's a great chance to surprise a few and make a name for himself.

Hopefully he does get the chance, even if it's as a sub.

These games are a great chance to mix the seasoned campaigners with those who are untested at this level, but Martin O'Neill has said that he won't just be handing out caps, only giving them to those that have truly earned them.

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We're hoping to see a few new faces get a chance, all that's left to do now is wait until the team is announced.

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