A lot of people have already written Ireland off heading into the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Their results in 2020 were incredibly poor, with the side failing to win any of their eight games under the new manager. They also scored only one goal along the way. Heading into a group alongside the likes of Portugal and Serbia, a big improvement will be needed if they are to have any chance of qualification.
One player that could have a big part to play is Alan Browne. Stephen Kenny has already earmarked him as someone that he expects to stand up over the next few months, with the Preston man having been in excellent form at club level.
Speaking to members of the media earlier this afternoon, Browne said that while some people will give them little chance of finishing in the top two of the group, the players will have belief that they can outperform expectations.
It's a tough group. I think any group would have been. It's international football so it's always going to be a tough one.
On paper people probably rule us out if we are being realistic, given our recent results haven't been good enough.
I'm sure the critics will have already ruled us out, but as a team and a nation we are always ones to be the underdog and come out on top. That's what we will be looking to do.
We've got to be optimistic as possible. We will be going into every game looking to win it, make no doubt about that. That's what we've always done.
We want to live up to the history of teams gone before us in getting through to the big games and big stages. We want to keep that going.
The Serbia game will be key if this is to be the case.
The trip to Belgrade will be a difficult one, coming up against a team who have players from some top clubs around Europe.
They may have failed to qualify for Euro 2020 after losing a penalty shootout to Scotland, but they have since changed their manager. New coach Dragan Stojkovic said earlier this week that he 'can't accept' his side being outperformed by Ireland next week.
I have never watched as many games. There was a lot of analysis of both opponents and our own games. I can't say that everything was so bad before that nothing worked, but there are things that need to change.
And that is, first of all, to find our identity, the style of play that we want to show, so that people can see what football in Serbia is.
This is a difficult group. I’m not so crazy as to say that our opponents have no clue, they do.
Ireland can be uncomfortable to play against, but I can't accept that they can play better than us.
Alan Browne has no issue with those comments, even if they did suggest that the Serbians are a superior side to Stephen Kenny's.
The Cork native said that everyone in the Ireland camp will also be expecting the three points, even if recent issues will be playing on their mind.
I'm not fazed by that, it doesn't bother me. We expect to beat Serbia.
I have no problem with that. As a manager you expect your team to go out and win, so fair play to him for coming out and saying it because a lot of people hide behind words and don't say what they're thinking.
I know our manager will be expecting the same from us...
As a player you're always affected by results, a lack of goals, or conceding goals. All of these things play on your mind and you want to fix them, we're the only ones that can fix them. It's up to us to find the solution.
We need to find it fast because for a lot of people this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I know myself that I want to take advantage of that and will do everything I can to play my part.