James has eye on the prize as Republic host Faroe Islands

Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin 5/6/2013'Seamus Coleman and James McClean'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin 5/6/2013'Seamus Coleman and James McClean'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Morgan Treacy

AS a glamour friendly against World and European champions, Spain at New York’s Yankee Stadium looms large, James McClean could be forgiven for taking his eye off tonight’s World Cup qualifier against minnows Faroe Islands.

A long, and at times frustrating, season at Sunderland has almost come to an end and, despite that high profile fixture against the Spanish next Tuesday at the home of baseball’s New York Yankees, McClean has just one thing on his mind.

The 24 year-old winger insists he is totally focussed on tonight’s crunch Group C clash against Faroe Islands at the Aviva and is desperate to do his part in maintaining the Republic’s hopes of securing second spot should he get his chance to impress.

“It’s been a long season,” said McClean. “But we can’t think that way, we can’t start thinking about holidays and look beyond Friday’s game - that’s the focus.

“Then we have a game against Spain in New York which will be nice but we’ve got to take that seriously as well.

“After that maybe I’ll get a chance to relax and enjoy the break but it would be wrong to switch off before then.”

Tonight’s match will end a busy fortnight for the Republic which included a credible draw with England at Wembley and a 4-0 victory over Georgia in Dublin last Sunday.

And it’s certainly a must win game for Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad as their rivals for that runners-up spot, Austria and Sweden go head-to-head in Vienna.