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Doyle can be replaced - Tardelli

Kevin Doyle

Marco Tardelli is confident Ireland have the players to fill the boots of injured striker Kevin Doyle for Tuesday's key Euro 2012 qualifier in Slovakia.

Doyle has returned to Wolves for treatment on a knee injury, meaning Shane Long - who netted Ireland's second goal in their 3-2 defeat by Russia on Friday - or Andy Keogh will get the nod in Zilina.

Assistant boss Tardelli said: "It's a problem because Kevin Doyle is a very good player for us but I think the young players are ready to play in an important match. Against Russia, Long came on, he played well and scored a goal."

Much has been made of Ireland's tactics in Friday's defeat, with the hosts relying largely on the long ball while Russia dominated midfield, launching wave after wave of attacks.

Trapattoni's side came back into the match in the final 20 minutes after Doyle was replaced by midfielder Keith Fahey, but Tardelli dismissed suggestions they could start with captain Robbie Keane as a lone striker.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "Maybe it's possible to play a young player (as a lone striker) but Monday Giovanni will decide."

Defender Richard Dunne was particularly critical of Ireland's performance against Russia, calling on his team-mates to be braver and have belief in their ability to compete with the best sides.

Midfielders Glenn Whelan and Paul Green had a particularly tough game, with the Stoke man describing Russia as the best opponents he has faced on the international stage. Whelan, though, is hoping the chastening experience will prove to be of benefit in Slovakia.

He said: "Me and Paul tried to work really hard without really getting into the game. But these situations are going to pop up many a time and now, come Tuesday, if Slovakia play five in the middle, we know we're going to have to change something.

"Richard said what he felt and that's what he believes but the whole lot of us know there's a certain way of playing."

PA