Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Koevermans forced into changes

Wim Koevermans

Stand-in boss Wim Koevermans will have little choice but to make changes as Ireland's ill-fated European Under-21s Championships qualifying campaign reaches its conclusion.

Ireland's Group 2 fixtures end with Tuesday's tough trip to Turkey, where only a victory will give them a chance of avoiding the wooden spoon.

However, their preparations have been hampered by a major selection headache which has seen them fly further reinforcements out to join up with the squad as injuries and suspensions having taken their toll.

Derry City's Shane McEleney and Daniel Keas, from Dundalk, have been drafted in following Sunday's call-ups for Galway United duo Seamus Conneely and Karl Sheppard and Bohemians' Paddy Madden.

Koevermans has had to cast the net far and wide after losing five players in the wake of Friday night's 1-0 defeat in Switzerland to bring the total number of withdrawals from the original squad to nine.

Anthony Stokes and Eddie Nolan are both suspended after picking up second yellow cards in Lugano, while Alan Judge, Gavin Gunning and Shane O'Connor are all injured.

The game brings an end to a difficult campaign, which has seen the Republic win only once - last month's 5-0 victory over Estonia - and claim just seven points from nine games to date.

Even victory in Turkey would see Ireland finish in bottom spot if fifth-placed Armenia return from Georgia with something to show for their efforts.

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