Martin O’Neill unwilling to gamble on selection for Poland clash

Martin O'Neill Republic of Ireland boss

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Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has warned members of his squad struggling to prove their fitness that they may not be risked for Sunday’s crucial Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland in Dublin.

Ireland go into the game knowing victory would see them join Group D leaders Poland on ten points but O’Neill faces a selection dilemma with some of his key players not playing regularly at their clubs in recent weeks.

Everton winger Aiden McGeady has not figured for the Toffees since January while Robbie Brady returned to Hull City’s line-up as a sub in Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea after a month on the treatment table.

O’Neill is unwilling to take too many risks given the crucial nature of Sunday’s game at the Aviva Stadium.

“I wouldn’t want to be gambling with too many players’ fitness, certainly in the starting team,” said O’Neill.

McGeady has been something of a talisman for O’Neill so far in this campaign and the former Celtic boss could be forced into starting the winger with alternatives in the squad also having issues hanging over them.

Stoke City’s Jon Walters will have to play with a protective mask due to a fractured cheekbone while Wigan’s James McClean limped out of training in Dublin on Tuesday morning. Stephen Ward and Darron Gibson were also forced to sit out training.

Republic of Ireland desperately need to bounce back from a damaging defeat to Scotland in Glasgow in November, with O’Neill’s team priced at 2.56 to defeat Poland (2.86) with the draw at 2.95.

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