Belfast Telegraph

Why playing second leg at the Aviva isn't significant for Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill

By Gareth Hanna

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill isn't convinced being at home in the second leg will prove all that pivotal in his side's World Cup play-offs.

The Republic drew Denmark and will travel to Copenhagen for the first leg on Saturday November 11 before returning to Dublin for the return leg on Tuesday November 14.

Playing the second leg at home was what most fans were hoping for but O'Neill is far from convinced it will give his side much of an advantage.

"I think if you ask most coaches they would prefer to play the second game at home," he began. "That said with the rules and extra time, it gives the away team that chance to score not only in 90 minutes but 120 minutes. One negates the other."

It will be a meeting of old friends as Denmark boss Åge Hareide was a team-mate of O'Neill's at both Manchester City and Norwich. But the Republic manager is just hoping he'll have as full a panel as possible to choose from when his mulls over his starting XI in Copenhagen.

He said: "We're pleased to be in the draw and being one of the unseeded teams it was going to be a difficult time. I know Denmark and the manager, we used to play together, so it will be an interesting confrontation.

"Momentum is very important. We won our last two games to get here so from my own point as a national coach I'm concerned about our players not picking up injuries at club level. We've got a bit of momentum and we want to keep it going."

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