Roy Keane tells Ireland to make life uncomfortable for Poles

Roy Keane says the Republic of Ireland need to pull the welcome mat from beneath Poland`s feet if they are to take three points from a crucial European Championship qualifier in Dublin on Sunday.

AFP| Updated: Mar 28, 2015, 11:18 AM IST
Roy Keane tells Ireland to make life uncomfortable for Poles

Dublin: Roy Keane says the Republic of Ireland need to pull the welcome mat from beneath Poland`s feet if they are to take three points from a crucial European Championship qualifier in Dublin on Sunday.

Keane, the assistant to manger Martin O`Neill, has called for Irish fans and players to turn the Lansdowne Road stadium into the fortress of old.

With Poland top of Group D, three points ahead of Ireland, Germany and Scotland, defeat for O`Neill`s men could prove fatal to their dreams of making it to a second successive European finals -- and the omens aren`t good.

Since 2001, when Keane and company stunned Louis Van Gaal`s star-studded Netherlands team on the way to World Cup 2002 qualification, Ireland have struggled to take a scalp of any significance at Lansdowne Road.

Now, with Poland 32 places ahead of them in the FIFA Rankings (Ireland languish at 66), an opportunity exists not only to make a case for their participation at Euro 2016, but to also begin a new era of home dominance on a ground that was once so profitable in the golden reigns of Jack Charlton and Mick McCarthy.

Losing to Scotland in November has increased the pressure ahead of Sunday`s game, but Ireland know victory will keep them firmly in the hunt for automatic qualification from Group D.

"If we want to do well in any campaign you have to have a decent home record," Keane said.

"A lot of teams have come here and probably enjoyed Lansdowne Road, but it`s up to us to be on the front foot and get the fans behind us, which I sure they will be.

"The atmosphere will no doubt be brilliant but that can`t just come from the fans, it has to come from the players.

"Whether that is by making tackles, creating chances or putting their bodies on the line.

"The old Lansdowne was brilliant and there was a great atmosphere but in terms of Sunday, that is the least of our worries. That will take care of itself and it will be electric."Almost 10,000 Poles are expected to attend, with a substantial number coming from the large contingent already living in Ireland.

There may be a familiarity in the stands, but Ireland midfielder Stephen Quinn says the players are also more than aware of what to expect on the field.

"We`ve watched a lot of videos on Poland throughout the week already and I don`t think the manager wants to leave any stones unturned going into the game, for set-pieces etc," the Hull midfielder said.

"We know how strong they are and we have done our homework so hopefully we can deal with that.

"We`ve watched them and we will continue to throughout the week so we can capitalise on their weaknesses."

Poland travel in confident mood, having beaten bitter rivals Germany for the first time in 19 attempts last October, with coach Adam Nawalka so pleased with how things are going that he was willing to leave out Borussia Dortmund star Jakub Blaszczykowski due to internal friction between the midfielder and new captain Robert Lewandowski.

The 68-times capped former skipper is not the only absentee, with Lukasz Piszczek, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Kamil Grosicki and Michal Zyro missing through injury.