Wales know what to expect in decider against Republic of Ireland - Chris Coleman

09 October 2017 09:24

Wales manager Chris Coleman insists his players have nothing to fear as their World Cup campaign finishes with a winner-takes-all decider against the Republic of Ireland.

The two countries meet in Cardiff on Monday night still with an outside chance of topping Group D - and with it an automatic ticket to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia - should Serbia slip up at home to Georgia.

But victory will guarantee either side a place in the November play-offs as one of the eight best runners-up in European qualifying.

"I don't want to sound over-confident but we've sat here before with these big games," said Coleman, who knows a point will also secure a play-off place for the Dragons if Group I rivals Croatia and Ukraine draw with the same or fewer goals scored on Monday night as Wales.

"Two years ago it would have been brand new, but I can't wait for it.

"We look forward to these games because I've been in positions where I didn't know if I'd still be in a job if I'd lost that next game.

"There's s no fear from me in this situation and there's nothing for the players to fear.

"It's big as anything we've been involved in, but the good thing is we've been here before and we've got that experience."

A feisty Dublin draw between the two countries in March was shrouded in controversy and ill-feeling when Neil Taylor's mistimed tackle left Republic captain Seamus Coleman with a broken leg.

Coleman has always maintained that incident will have no bearing on the Cardiff City Stadium return, but he does expect another no-holds barred between Celtic neighbours.

"I think it will be toe-to-toe, end-to-end," Coleman said.

"Both sets players are quite similar, so I can see it being a lot of contact and very exciting.

"I don't think it will be one of those fights where we are jabbing at each other. I think we will go for it, both teams."

While Wales are without injured Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, Ireland will be able to call upon Robbie Brady and James McClean once again after the pair sat out Friday's 2-0 win over Moldova through suspension.

Manager Martin O'Neill will run the rule over some of his older men, with two-goal hero Daryl Murphy and playmaker Wes Hoolahan having put in extended shifts against Moldova.

"Daryl had a big lift scoring the two goals, it takes him off the one mark," O'Neill said.

"He put a big shift in and it's a tough ask for him to do the 90 minutes, but we'll see.

"You have to look at those over 30 and see how players physically have come out of the game on Friday night, because it's a quick turnaround to Monday.

"But we will be freshened up with James and Robbie.

"I'll take all those things into consideration, people coming on and making an impact in the game."

Source: PA


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