Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill approaching Northern Ireland game in positive manner

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill will look to give his players some game time in Thursday’s training game with Northern Ireland.

O’Neill will look to hone his team with a run-put against Michael O’Neill’s squad away from prying eyes at the Aviva Stadium.

He will use it as an opportunity to get minutes under the belt for players such as Aiden McGeady, who missed much of the second half of Everton’s season through injury, and those men plying their trade in the Sky Bet Championship, most of whom finished their club commitments a month ago.

Asked if there was an agreement between the two managers to take it easy on the pitch, the former Celtic boss said: “That shouldn’t really be a problem. I’m looking at this very positively.

“But you may be right. We are down to kick off at 1pm – if the game finishes at 1.10pm, I’ll think you have a point.”

Defender Marc Wilson, one of several players who was born in the North but opted to represent the Republic, is desperate to play some part on today’s game and does not fear any backlash.

He said: “That’s part and parcel of football, isn’t it? You get tackles and you’ve just got to take them and get on with it. Then hopefully when you get the chance, put your foot in and do the same.”

Indeed, the 27-year-old Stoke player is keen to be involved in all three games, and is treating the Northern Ireland match as he would any other international fixture rather than just as a training game.

He said: “You want to play in every single game and I’m no different.

“It’s a match. Definitely, it’s a match.”