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Jeff Hendrick is determined to stay in the goal routine for Ireland

Rep of Ireland v Georgia, Euro 2020 Qualifying Group D, Aviva Stadium, Tonight, 7.45pm

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Decisive say: Jeff Hendrick celebrates netting the Republic of Ireland’s winner in Gibraltar

Decisive say: Jeff Hendrick celebrates netting the Republic of Ireland’s winner in Gibraltar

�INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Decisive say: Jeff Hendrick celebrates netting the Republic of Ireland’s winner in Gibraltar

Jeff Hendrick is happy to take on some of the responsibility for ending the Republic of Ireland's goalscoring drought.

The Burnley midfielder's strike at the Victoria Stadium on Saturday evening was enough - if only just - to hand the Republic, who had scored only four times in their previous nine games, an opening Euro 2020 qualifier victory over Gibraltar.

It came after he had been challenged to do just that by manager Mick McCarthy and coach Terry Connor, and it is something he would love to repeat on a regular basis, with tonight's clash with Georgia at the Aviva Stadium the next opportunity.

Hendrick, who last found the back of the net for his country in Serbia in September 2016, said: "We haven't scored enough goals recently, and that's down to us as players.

"We've been told to get into the box and try to score goals, so it's down to us to work hard to get in there and get on the end of crosses or balls that have been knocked down.

"The manager and TC were telling me during the week that I haven't scored enough, and it is something I knew I hadn't done and that I wanted to improve on.

"Through the week, I was just trying to get into the box, get on the end of crosses, and maybe it was imprinted in my mind then going into the game, and thankfully I scored."

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McCarthy was less than impressed by the performance in Gibraltar but happy enough with the result, although no-one within the camp is labouring under any misapprehension that the clash with the Georgians will be any easier.

Georgia have never beaten the Republic in nine attempts, but the sides drew 1-1 in Tbilisi the last time they met in September 2017, and the Irish can count themselves fortunate to have won each of the last two encounters at the Aviva by the only goal.

Hendrick said: "If you give any team time on the ball, they're going to be good. Even at times Gibraltar, if they had the ball, they have players who can hurt you.

"It's going to be the same again. We probably know them a little bit more - we've had them in the last two qualifying campaigns - so we know a few of their players, what they can do."

McCarthy, meanwhile, will take a win over Georgia however it comes.

Asked how the Republic can spark the kind of atmosphere his team played in during his first spell in charge, he said: "A fast, attacking, aggressive Irish performance that we all appreciate.

"It's not going to be easy because they'll be difficult to play against, but outside all of that I'll still take a win however it comes.

"That's my intention of how to play - let's see if that bears fruit. But let's hope we win because the object for me is to qualify for the Euros."

Reports have suggested some fans are planning protests - one claims supporters will throw tennis balls onto the pitch - against controversial outgoing Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney, who, it was announced on Saturday evening, is to take up the newly-created role of executive vice-president.

McCarthy said: "I've been at Charlton when people have done it, and it's not going to help us play any better so I hope that's not the case.

"They want us to win and give us the best chance, and that's getting behind us and not having any outside influences affecting that."


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