Keogh: We expect to win
Andy Keogh insists Ireland will head into their Euro 2012 clash with Russia in expectation rather than hope.
Buoyed by an encouraging World Cup qualifying campaign which fell only just short in controversial circumstances in Paris last November, Ireland launched their latest bid for a finals appearance with victories over Armenia and Andorra last month.
And ahead of Friday's clash, Keogh said: "It's the mentality the manager has brought to the team. He has had the core of players now for a couple of years and he has drilled his tactics and his mentality into us. Coming to our home patch, we are going into the game looking to win and wanting to win."
Their credentials will be put to the sternest of tests over the next few days when they play Group B favourites Russia in Dublin on Friday and their conquerors last time out, Slovakia, in Zilina four days later.
However, Keogh insists the belief manager Giovanni Trapattoni has instilled in his players over the last two and a half years means they will approach the double-header confident they can emerge with two positive results rather than hoping they do.
He added: "We are playing the two teams who are going to be up there with us competing to qualify, and the more points we can take from them, the better to try to open up a gap.
"If we continue the type of form we have had in the last two games, we should look good.
"It's more of the same. We won the last two games, so you can't complain about that, and there were some good performances as well."