Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill will let Republic of Ireland stars tie up their future on transfer deadline day

By Damian Spellman

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill will not stand in the way of any of his players sealing a move to a new club before the transfer deadline today.

O'Neill got to work with his 28-man squad at the Football Association of Ireland's new national training centre in Abbotstown for the first time yesterday as he began preparations for the must-win Euro 2016 Group D qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia.

However, he did so without Stoke striker Jonathan Walters, who was the subject of a rejected bid from Norwich last week, but whose future remains uncertain after he handed in a transfer request - despite the Potters being keen to hand him a contract extension.

And O'Neill insisted he would be comfortable releasing other players if they had an opportunity to resolve their immediate future ahead of today's 6.00pm deadline.

He said: "I said to the players beforehand that I will be prepared if somebody has to go at the last minute, either on loan or if it's a proper transfer.

"The loan system is one that I think that if people are happy enough with medicals being done elsewhere, then it's a matter of a fax machine."

In Walters' case, the interest was strong enough to delay his arrival in Dublin.

O'Neill said: "Jonny is (not here) only because there may be something happening to him. He wasn't completely sure, but there was little point in coming here for this morning and then maybe having to travel back.

"There may be something happening, although he's not terribly sure at this minute. But while there is the possibility of something happening to him, then I think it's best that he sees it until the transfer deadline is finished."

The Republic trounced group minnows Gibraltar 7-0 in Dublin in October last year after opening their campaign with a 2-1 victory in Tbilisi the previous month.

O'Neill said: "This game is very important to us, and we can't look at anything else other than trying to win the game on Friday night."

The Republic currently sit in fourth place in the group behind leaders Poland, Germany and Scotland.

Belfast Telegraph