Ward ready and waiting
Wolves defender Stephen Ward is ready to step into the Euro 2012 firing line in Macedonia if required.
The 25-year-old's senior international career is a little more than a week old following his Ireland debut in the 5-0 Carling Nations Cup demolition of Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium last Tuesday night.
Ward said: "It's the manager's call, but if I am needed to play, then I know I will be ready."
The 90 minutes Ward got against Northern Ireland was followed by another 90 in the 1-0 won over Scotland which handed Ireland the trophy, and manager Giovanni Trapattoni will head for Skopje on Thursday knowing he has another genuine option.
However, Ward got his chance with veteran left-back Kevin Kilbane unavailable because of his npower League One play-off final duties with Huddersfield, and with the 109-times capped 34-year-old having since joined up with the squad, he is odds-on to start at the Philip II Stadium on Saturday evening.
"I know it won't be easy for me to get into the team ahead of Kevin Kilbane," added Ward. "He has every right to play in the team on Saturday, he's been a fantastic servant for Ireland for so long.
"I feel I can come in and play on Saturday if needed. It's a big ask, trying to fill the boots of someone like Kevin Kilbane, but I would give anything to play in that game on Saturday.
"I'm on a major high this week after making my debut against Northern Ireland last week, so this international break - and the whole season, even my career - would be topped off I if got to play."