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Moldova v Republic of Ireland talking points

Published 08/10/2016

Martin O'Neill's side are looking for a second consecutive win
Martin O'Neill's side are looking for a second consecutive win

The Republic of Ireland will attempt to complete a maximum points haul from their October World Cup qualifiers when they face Moldova in Chisinau on Sunday evening.

Ireland picked up three points on Thursday night in Dublin, beating Georgia 1-0 courtesy of Seamus Coleman's second-half goal.

Here, Press Association Sport assesses some of the talking points surrounding the clash with the Moldovans.

WILL THE REAL IRELAND PLEASE STAND UP

It was no use trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes in the wake of Thursday's win over Georgia at the Aviva Stadium. The Republic were not good - far from it during the opening 45 minutes - and manager Martin O'Neill knew it, the players knew it and the supporters knew it. They improved after the break and edged themselves over the line, but they were a pale imitation of the side which beat Italy in France during the summer to reach the last 16 of Euro 2016.

DOES HOOLAHAN HOLD THE KEY?

Norwich playmaker Wes Hoolahan is a player who divides opinion. The fans love him, but both Giovanni Trapattoni and less so O'Neill have chosen their moments to use him. There was an out-cry when Hoolahan did not start the Georgia game, but acutely aware of his age - he is now 34 - O'Neill has more than once targeted one leg of a double-header in which to use him to best advantage, and his ability to pick out a killer pass could prove invaluable at the Stadionul Zimbru.

KEY PLAYERS MISSING

After the dust had settled on Ireland's Euro 2016 adventure, it was the emergence of Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady as two players of genuine international class which perhaps gave the nation most hope for future success. Neither will be involved on Sunday evening with Hendrick sitting out through suspension and Brady as a result of the concussion he suffered in a clash of heads with Georgia defender Solomon Kverkvelia, and the extent to which O'Neill is able to mitigate their loss could be key.

TIME FOR McCLEAN TO FRONT UP?

The last thing the Republic needed in the wake of Robbie Keane's retirement from international football was to see their striking options further depleted, and Daryl Murphy's absence through injury has denied O'Neill access to a man to whom he has turned to repeatedly in big games. With Shane Long, who is without a goal in 18 games for club and country, taking a knock against the Georgians, West Brom winger James McClean could well be under consideration having finished well from an offside position and hit the bar in midweek.

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