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Dunne set to start after comeback

Richard Dunne is "90 per cent" certain to start Friday night's World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands after a remarkable return to prominence.

The 33-year-old had not played any football for either club or country this season until he was introduced as a second-half substitute during Sunday night's 4-0 friendly victory over Georgia.

However, having seen him confirm his fitness following a 12-month injury lay-off, both in training and during his 25-minute cameo at the Aviva Stadium, manager Giovanni Trapattoni is ready to pitch him straight back into competitive action.

The 74-year-old Italian said: "Sure. I said 'probably' yesterday, but after this performance - it was important to see him in contact with the opponent - I think against the Faroes, he will be 90 per cent on the pitch."

That would complete an astonishing turnaround for Dunne, who has admitted he feared his career could be over as he underwent three bouts of surgery in a bid to solve a persistent groin injury.

Trapattoni has been cautious over one of his key performers since welcoming him back into the squad in London last weekend, but he will have few qualms in naming him in his starting line-up.

Indeed, his reluctance to confirm that Dunne will definitely start was the result of a general rather than a particular concern.

He added with a smile: "Yesterday evening, the players finished the game and I let them go free. Today, I won't see them. I am not a magician, I have to wait. When he comes back, I will call him and the rest of the team.

"Maybe two or three come back after the day off, they drink beer, they go out with their wife and an accident happens. I hope not, but maybe. I can't say to you now '100 per cent, yes'. Ninety per cent, yes. When they are here, I will be clear."

Ireland must beat the Faroes if they are to keep alive their hopes of snatching the runners-up spot in Group C ahead of Austria and Sweden.

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