The Irish squad for the upcoming friendly against Greece is due to be announced later this afternoon. If the word on the street is to believed then the tickets are going to be in plentiful supply with many fans opting to stay at home. The game itself could understandably be looked upon as another meaningless friendly but there are in fact plenty of positives that can be taken from the game, IF Trapattoni selects the right players.
The Italian began his weekly travels around the English football grounds two weeks ago and was in the stands to see Norwich City defeat Arsenal. Both Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington played in the game with Hoolahan particularly catching the eye. For years now, Ireland have been starved of a natural play maker and during that barren spell, Hoolahan has been churning out performance after performance. He looks likely to be included (don't jinx it!) in the squad for the Greece friendly and if he is given a starting role could prove to the manager that he has been missing a real gem since he took over.
Ciaran Clark is currently struggling with a knee injury but is hopeful of recovering in time for the friendly. Clark has played just two games for Ireland and has found himself behind the likes of Sean St.Ledger (who has long been struggling to get into the Leicester City side) and Darren O'Dea who plies his trade in the depths of the MLS with Toronto FC. Before his current injury, Clark has been a regular in an albeit poor Aston Villa side but a side who are playing Premiership football nonetheless. Shane Long has also been on the fringes of late and has been understandably been a frustrated figure. He is another who, if given the chance could prove to be a regular goal scorer in the green jersey.
Greece are exactly the type of footballing model that Ireland should be trying to emulate. They have never been blessed with world class players but yet qualify consistently for major tournaments and upset many of the favourites. This is exactly what Ireland used to be and we still live in hope that we can get back to those glory days.
On paper this looks like a drab fixture but if used correctly, it could in fact prove to be a valuable exercise in Ireland's hopes of still reaching Brazil 2014.
Who would you like to see included/excluded in the squad? Will Hoolahan finally get his chance to impress?