As another international window approaches, Irish fans will be wondering what new faces will be in Stephen Kenny’s squad in what will be a refresher before the European Championship Qualifiers.
Although we are unlikely to see wholesale changes, a number of uncapped players could come into the reckoning with several injuries already opening up the opportunity for some new caps.
With a new batch of under-21 internationals now becoming ineligible for Jim Crawford’s side, some may make the step up to the senior side for the first time with Joe Hodge perhaps a player many would like to see make the jump.
Finn Azaz, perhaps Ireland’s in form player right now will miss out through injury with Conor Coventry’s game time restricted to Europa Conference League appearances. Evan Ferguson is another to be struggling for minutes.
Will Smallbone (Stoke City-On loan from Southampton)
Perhaps the most likely to make the jump from under-21 to senior level, Will Smallbone is enjoying a consistent spell of first team football with Stoke City. Would certainly add a different dynamic to Ireland’s midfielder and could provide the creative spark that has been lacking in the middle of the park for Stephen Kenny.
Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn Rovers)
Having missed out on game time through injury after his first Ireland call-up in summer 2021, Sammie Szmodics has been in blistering form for promotion chasing Blackburn Rovers. Szmodics looks like a right-footed and more direct version of Wes Hoolahan and like Smallbone, could offer enhanced flare to the Irish midfield.
Mark Sykes (Bristol City)
Has already been named in Ireland squads similarly to Szmodics but has also yet ti make an appearance. Thriving as a right wing-back at his new club Bristol City, 25 year-old Belfast born Sykes has taken to the Championship like a duck to water. Would offer an alternative on the right although it is more likely Cyrus Christie reclaims his understudy spot to Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty.
Georgie Kelly (Rotherham United)
With Troy Parrott and Adam Idah already out of the November fixtures, former Bohemians man Georgie Kelly could fill the void having found the net three times for Rotherham this season. The 25 year-old could be behind Scott Hogan and Will Keane in the pecking order but it would be no surprise to see the natural finisher in Stephen Kenny’s side.
Neil Furrugia (Shamrock Rovers)
Having bee singled out by Stephen Kenny and backed by his manager Stephen Bradley as a player who could make the step up to international level from the League of Ireland, Neil Furrugia is hitting form at the right time. A star at underage level under Kenny, the 23 year old could feature against Malta who he is eligible for.