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Noel King challenges Republic of Ireland U21s to complete qualifying on a high

Noel King has challenged his Republic of Ireland Under-21s side to go out with a bang as they look to end their qualifying campaign with victory over Serbia.

Ireland's hopes of making it out of Group 2 were dashed long ago by a run of four successive defeats which only came to an end last month when they beat Slovenia 2-0.

Four days later, they went down 3-2 to the Serbs - who included several of the men who had played a part in their World Under-20's title victory last year - in a thriller in Novi Sad, and King is hoping they can build upon that performance at the RSC in Waterford on Friday evening.

He said: "Obviously Serbia are a very-highly regarded side and have lots of talent, so it will be a tough task. But even so we will go into this game in a positive manner.

"We feel we can produce another good performance against a top-ranked side and we'll see what happens from there. We're not lacking for motivation and we won't lack for desire.

"There are 10 players with this group that are eligible for the next campaign, so we'll be looking forward to them building on the experience they've gained in recent months."

Serbia need to win both their remaining games - they entertain Slovenia on Tuesday - to stand any chance of pipping group leaders Italy to automatic qualification, although a point for the Italians in Lithuania the same evening would end that possibility.


From Belfast Telegraph