Ireland stick with Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane

Posted October 07, 2017

Wales' victory in Georgia earlier on Friday meant nothing but three points would do Ireland and Martin O'Neil's side got off to the flawless start when Stephen Ward's long throw caused panic in the box and Murphy opened the scoring after less than two minutes.

Charlie Nicholas provides us with his predictions for the penultimate set of World Cup Qualifiers.

Of course, that's in a ideal world.

The Nottingham Forest striker marked his 30th senior cap with his second and third goals for his country on a night when victory was the only option if Ireland were to keep their hopes of emerging from Group D alive. Four of the second-placed sides will also make it to Russian Federation, with the November play-offs to decide which nations progress.

A win over Slovakia in Glasgow could move Scotland into the play off place, although a draw might be a better result for Ireland.

More news: Bangladesh backs India's stand on Rohingya issue: Foreign minister Haque

There could yet be some gloomy news awaiting Martin O'Neill's men when the group stages conclude on Tuesday evening.

And there are no fresh injury worries to derail the Irish camp ahead of tonight's clash with group minnows Moldova. "But he's been excellent for me and I actually think he's enjoying it here, too". We try to do whatever we can and play as well as we can.

James McClean and Robbie Brady are both suspended and that's an issue but the Republic should have enough quality to secure a comfortable victory.

O'Neill mentioned needing "invention" and "width" to "break down" the Moldovans.

Ireland has failed to win in its last four games but must now win its last two for a real chance at qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

More news: How Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Beat Condo Fraud Rap

Shane Long's struggles are a particular concern but I can see a few different players chipping in and helping them out on Friday.

"When he comes in, his little bits of training he does with us, he's always been impressive".

"I spoke to John (Delaney) recently and he said on behalf of the board they would like to extend my contract for another couple of years, obviously with the Euros coming up, and I have agreed to do so", O'Neill told FAI TV.

I'm not suggesting Northern Ireland will down tools but I think they'll accept they will be on the back foot and will have to work hard defensively. "I think if they were called upon to go in, whether it's to start or go in, I think they will be ready".

It is understood assistant Roy Keane and the rest of the coaching staff have joined him.

More news: Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones are here