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Poland v Republic of Ireland: Talking Points

Published 10/10/2015

Darren Randolph impressed for the Republic against Germany
Darren Randolph impressed for the Republic against Germany

The Republic of Ireland face Poland in Warsaw on Sunday evening knowing qualification for the Euro 2016 finals could be just 90 minutes away.

Here, Press Association Sport's Damian Spellman takes a look at the main talking points in the build-up to the game.

IS DARREN RANDOLPH READY TO MAKE HIS FIRST START FOR IRELAND?

On the evidence of the 47 minutes he played in Thursday night's remarkable 1-0 victory over Germany, yes he is. The 28-year-old West Ham goalkeeper looks to be the man in possession despite having played just 61 minutes of senior football for his country before this week after veteran Shay Given pulled out through injury. But he made vital saves from Jerome Boateng and Ilkay Gundogan and provided the assist for fellow substitute Shane Long's decisive goal to demonstrate his readiness to do a job.

WILL SEAMUS COLEMAN COME BACK INTO THE TEAM?

If he is anywhere near match-fit after working hard to recover from the hamstring injury which ruled him out of the Germany game, Everton full-back Coleman will return at right-back. That is no reflection on Derby's Cyrus Christie, who performed admirably in the face of a German onslaught, but Coleman in one of the class acts in Martin O'Neill's squad and he will want the player on the pitch if at all possible.

WILL MARTIN O'NEILL GO FOR IT?

O'Neill by nature is not a risk-taker, and he will set up his team to make life difficult for the Poles, while at the same time giving it a basis from which to attack. A similar ploy worked to perfection on Thursday evening, although with the prize for victory - a high-scoring draw would also put Ireland through - so alluring, it may be difficult to curb the adventure of players desperate to reach the finals, particularly as the game wears on.

CAN THE REPUBLIC KEEP ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI AT BAY?

If they can, they may just be in business. Poland are far from a one-man team, but if that one man is allowed time and space, he will deliver as Wolfsburg, Mainz, Dinamo Zagreb, Borussia Dortmund and Scotland have discovered to their cost in recent weeks. Lewandowski has 14 goals in his last 405 minutes of football, famously including five in just nine minutes as a substitute against Wolfsburg on a night when Ireland's Sunderland defender John O'Shea was being given the run-around by Manchester City in the Capital One Cup.

WILL ROBBIE KEANE HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY?

Undoubtedly, and particularly off the pitch. Keane's 142 caps and 67 international goals no longer guarantee him a place in the starting line-up at 35 years of age, but he remains the man most likely to find half a yard of space and put the ball in the back of the net. His involvement on the pitch may be more limited these days, but his experience of big occasions could improve invaluable in the dressing room. And could the script be written for him to equal German great Gerd Muller's tally of 68 goals just when his country might need it most?

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