Scott Hogan is on fire at the moment. He scored yet again for Birmingham City at the weekend, extending what has been a remarkable record since his January move. He is not the only one playing himself into international contention, with the likes of Jayson Molumby and Ryan Manning also performing to a high level.
However, there are a couple of potential injury concerns in Shane Long and Enda Stevens. Here's the roundup in full:
Irish Player Ratings
Matt Doherty was unable to keep his strong run of form going in the 0-0 draw with Brighton, making little impact on the game. He was given a 5/10 by the Express & Star, who said he was ok defensively despite doing little in attack.
Shane Long started Southampton's 1-0 home loss to Newcastle, putting in an excellent performance despite the defeat. He was marked as an 8/10 by Saints Marching, putting in a typically hard working shift up front. Unfortunately he was taken off after tweaking a hamstring and it is unknown how serious the injury is just yet. Michael Obafemi came off the bench late on in that one.
Sheffield United secured a 1-0 win over Norwich City, with John Egan and Enda Stevens both starting the game. The pair performed well, being rated at 8/10 and 7/10 respectively by the Sheffield Star. However, Stevens was taken off after 60 minutes as a 'precautionary measure' according to Chris Wilder.
Mick McCarthy will be hoping he is back to full health for the trip to Slovakia. David McGoldrick played 20 minutes off the bench, while Adam Idah came on in the 87th minute for Norwich.
James McCarthy played the full 90 minutes in Crystal Palace's 1-0 win over Watford, putting in an excellent performance. He was given a 7/10 by Football London for a 'combative shift in midfield, showing tenacity and plenty of energy'.
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) March 7, 2020
Burnley piled more misery on Spurs at the weekend, outperforming Jose Mourinho's side in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor. Jeff Hendrick was given a 6/10 by Lancs Live, who mentioned he offered little in the way of attacking intent.
In the Championship, Jayson Molumby was on fire in Millwall's 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Friday night. He came agonisingly close to his first senior goal goal, but put in a cracking performance. He has firmly established himself as a fan favourite at The Den and now surely must be considered for a place in the squad against Slovakia.
Callum O'Dowda was in their 1-1 draw with Fulham, with Cyrus Christie playing the full 90 minutes for the visitors.
James Collins was unable to break the deadlock in Luton Town's 0-0 draw with Wigan, captaining the team. The striker has sported the armband on a number of occasions recently, telling Luton Today that he is honoured to have the chance:
I was captain at Shrewsbury for a few months when Liam Lawrence wasn’t playing, so I have done it before.
I was a little but younger then, now I’m at an age where I’m a little bit more experienced.
I love playing for this football club, and to have the armband is a great honour.
Charlton fell to a 1-0 defeat in their relegation six-pointer against Middlesbrough, with Josh Cullen in midfield for the home side. He was one of their better performers, getting a 7/10 from News Shopper.
Scott Hogan continued his scoring streak in Birmingham City's game against Reading, but it was not enough to stop them falling to a 3-1 defeat at St. Andrew's. He showed great instincts to get on this loose ball and steer it over the opposition goalkeeper.
Clever finish from Scott Hogan to give Birmingham City the lead against Reading 🇮🇪pic.twitter.com/MCeAMOUNAC
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) March 7, 2020
That made it eight goal in eight games since his move to the club, very much playing himself into contention at international level as a result. His performance was rated at 6/10 by the Birmingham Mail, one of the higher marks handed out.
Dara O'Shea and Callum Robinson started West Brom's 0-0 draw at Swansea, with O'Shea especially impressive. The Express & Star gave him an 8/10, raving about the way he dealt with Andre Ayew at the back:
Another excellent showing from the academy graduate who won't come up against many better players in the Championship than Andre Ayew.
O'Shea, though, largely kept the Ghana international in check. He also impressed when moved to centre-back.
Robinson was marked at 6/10, having a quieter game than we have become accustomed to in recent weeks.
Ryan Manning made a huge contribution in QPR's win over Preston, scoring a cracker to put his side ahead in the 78th minute.
It was another strong showing at left back from the player, who got an 8/10 from West London Sport.
It was not such a good afternoon for Ireland's Preston contingent, however both Alan Browne and Sean Maguire performed reasonably well on a personal level. They were each given 7/10 by the Lancashire Evening Post, with Maguire hitting the woodwork twice.
Jason Knight played wide left in Derby's 3-0 win over Blackburn, playing incredibly well. The Derby Telegraph said he was 'full of drive and enthusiasm, gave Rovers problems and won the penalty' in a 7.5/10 display.