Rep of Ireland v Wales Preview

Ireland host Wales in the Carling Nations Cup

Ireland host Wales in the Carling Nations Cup

The Republic of Ireland welcome Wales to the Aviva Stadium tonight, for the opening game of the Carling Nations Cup.

The clash is Gary Speed’s first game in charge as Wales manager, and he will be looking for a morale boosting victory over Giovanni Trapattoni’s men.

Ireland are in a comfortable position in their Euro 2012 group behind Russia, however Trapattoni will want to use this game, to put the defeat by the Russians in Dublin last October to bed.

Wales currently lie bottom of the Group G Euro 2012 table, with no points from their opening three games, and have a clash with England to look forward to on the 26th of March.

Both teams have been hit by injuries with, Captain Robbie Keane, James McCarthy, Liam Lawrence, and Leon Best all being ruled out for the Irish.

Trapattoni has confirmed that in form, Seamus Coleman and Ciaran Clark will both start, with Jonathan Walters expected to partner Kevin Doyle in attack.

Darren Gibson and Paul Green are battling to partner Glen Whelan in the centre of midfield, with Damien Duff or Stephen Hunt expected to play on the left.

Gary Speed is without the influential trio of, Craig Bellamy, Ashley Williams, and Jo Ledley, as all three are rested after being involved in gruelling Sunday derby encounters.

Therefore Speed has handed the captain’s armband to Aston Villa defender James Collins, who will partner namesake Danny Collins in the centre of Defence.

Wayne Hennessey will start in goals for the Welsh, with Sam Rickets and Neill Eardley operating as full backs.

Speed has opted for an attack minded 4-3-3 formation, with David Vaughan, Simon Church, and Andrew Crofts making up his midfield.

Reading duo Hal Robson-Kanu, and Simon Church will partner Rob Earnshaw in attack.

Kick off at the Aviva Stadium is at 19:45.

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