Some of Giovanni Trapattoni's key men are in need of a change in their club fortunes and a move could be on the cards for some
By Ryan Kelly
As Giovanni Trapattoni prepares to lead Ireland into the next round of World Cup qualifying fixtures in March he will have to cast his eye over the progress of his squad. Several players are enjoying good form with their clubs, including the electrifying Shane Long at West Brom and Stoke City powerhouse Jonathan Walters.
Elsewhere, Seamus Coleman has continued to impress for Everton at right back, while Ciaran Clark has been clocking up game-time for Aston Villa, even captaining the Villans in the absence of Dutch international Ron Vlaar.
However, Trapattoni will have been struck by the worrying lack of game-time enjoyed by a number of his senior players.
Here, Goal.com takes a look at the five Irish internationals in need of a move in the January transfer window.
Having served his time as a deputy to Shay Given, 28-year-old Keiren Westwood was the natural successor when the Donegal custodian opted to retire from international duty in August 2012. Nevertheless, his own position as Ireland's first-choice goalkeeper is by no means guaranteed.
Westwood's impressive performances for Coventry City earned him a move to the Premier League in 2011 when he was snapped up by Sunderland. However, he has struggled to dislodge Simon Mignolet as the Black Cats' number one.
A move away from the Stadium of Light may be required if Westwood wishes to maintain his status for the Boys in Green, with David Forde, Stephen Henderson and Mark Bunn each hoping to stake their claim for a place in the starting line up.
Currently blighted by injuries and having undergone a series of surgeries, Richard Dunne has not featured for Aston Villa once during the 2012-2013 season. His forced absence has facilitated the ascension of Ciaran Clark at both club and international level and the 22-year-old centre back has been one of Villa's more consistent performers in a poor season thus far.
As such, Dunne's position is now under serious threat and it is not a foregone conclusion that the veteran centre half will reclaim his spot upon regaining his health.
Now 33 years old, Dunne is also in the final year of his contract at Villa Park and, considering his fitness issues, it is looking quite unlikely that the Birmingham club will renew his contract. Indeed, the burly defender has recently been linked with MLS side New York Red Bulls, so a move could already be in the offing.
Wolves striker Kevin Doyle has freely admitted that he cannot be expecting to start for Ireland when there are other players performing regularly in the English Premier League. When his side were relegated last season, Doyle opted to remain at Molineux, despite being linked with a move to Everton.
However, Stale Solbakken's side are languishing in the wrong half of the Championship table and Doyle has netted just five goals in 25 league appearances.
It is clear that Doyle's confidence has been affected by his club's on-field tribulations and if he is to make a strong case for his place in the Irish squad, Doyle may be forced to seek a move back to the Premier League.
Stephen Kelly's international future was thrown into doubt in October 2012 when a clash with Marco Tardelli almost saw the former Tottenham Hotspur full back refuse to board a team plane en route to the Faroe Islands.
However, it is the player's lack of game time for Fulham this season that has the potential to most threaten his place in the squad.
With the rise to prominence of Seamus Coleman at Everton, 29-year-old Kelly has found his chances with Ireland further limited, so a permanent move away from Craven Cottage this January may be required.
At the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Everton manager David Moyes said that he wished to keep Shane Duffy at Goodison Park rather than sending the centre back out on loan. However, the 20-year-old has spent most of his time on the bench for the Toffees, making just two substitute appearances this season.
With injuries to Sean St Ledger, Richard Dunne and John O'Shea threatening their involvement in upcoming fixtures, Duffy will be hoping to push for a place in the senior team. The young centre half faces competition from Phil Jagielka, John Heitinga and Sylvain Distin for a place in the Everton team, so a short term loan move would be beneficial.
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