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A Keen Eye

PUBLISHED

12:30 5th March 2014

Head Coach on Under 21s' progress.

Head Coach Kenny Jackett will doubtless be keeping a keen eye on this afternoon’s Under 21s international between the Republic of Ireland and Montenegro at Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium.

Four members of the Molineux squad are in the Irish party – Anthony Forde, Liam McAlinden, Aaron McCarey and Matt Doherty are involved and for McAlinden it is his first involvement at this level.

Describing his young striker, Kenny said: “Playing on that last man, he has pace and can score, so it will be interesting to see how he develops and how they use him in the Under-21s, and it’s good for him to get into the squad.

“It will be interesting to see if he plays. He has a lot of confidence in himself to score.

“Liam’s capable of playing for our first team – he knows the role and the system.

“Even in a very small and brief substitute’s appearance at Brentford, he showed well and knew what was expected of him.

“If it gets to the situation – and I’m sure it will – where he needs a chance, I’ll have no hesitation in giving him that opportunity.

“In Nouha Dicko’s position, I do see Liam, and I think he’d be worth a chance.

“But then it would depend on how he plays when he gets that chance and we can only assess one game at a time.”

“I think he’s a player and I think he has a good future.

“If he got in this season and played three games on the trot, how he did is very hard to read or predict.

“Pace is something that at different times we’ve lacked.

“I’ve got confidence in him and he has a lot of ability.”

A win for the Irish is imperative if they are to keep alive their hopes of reaching of reaching the Championship Finals in the Czech Republic in June 2015.

Speaking of his quartet of players, Kenny added: “They’re big games for those guys, and when they come back, they’ve got to be hoping they’re called on and ready to take their chance.

“It’s a game for them and a good chance for them to show in a week where we haven’t got a midweek game.

“Ireland have two qualifiers left and they have a chance to qualify.

“I think they have to win both and then hope results go for them but they’re all very proud to play for Ireland they’re looking forward to the game.

“Hopefully they get some time on the pitch.”

Also hoping for a taste of Under 21s action today is Lee Evans, who is in the Welsh squad who face England at Derby’s Pride Park tonight.

“I don’t know whether Lee will start, but if he does, it will be a great game for him to be involved in,” concluded Kenny.

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