MARTIN O’Neill has indicated that Derry men, Shane Duffy and Eunan O’Kane will get the chance to stake a claim for a place on the plane to Euro ‘16 in France during the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming friendlies.
Ireland play a double-header of international friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium at the end of the month and O’Neill suggested he will give the fringe players a chance to show what they can do.
Duffy recently captained Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round clash against Premiership club West Ham and netted his first goal for the Ewood Park club against Fulham earlier this month.
And Bournemouth midfielder, O’Kane is another player likely to get handed a cap against the Swiss after catching the eye of O’Neill this season.
“I think there’s a fairly decent chance of that happening,” said O’Neill when questioned on their possible involvement in the squad. “I want to do a bit of experimenting as well but also keep it as competitive as we can.
“Shane (Duffy) has actually ended up captaining Blackburn at the moment. Young O’Kane I see quite a lot of or I try get down to see the games that I think he’s going to be playing in.”
And he had plenty of praise for Creggan man, James McClean for his recent performances with West Brom.
“McClean’s a great lad and a great heart in the game,” added O’Neill. “I watched him just recently and he was West Brom’s best player playing down at Southampton. They were particularly poor that day but James was working back doing the left back role running up and down, trying to do his best. He knows I have nothing but admiration for him.”