Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted that he will not play Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger together in the World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Sweden in March, suggesting that it would be 'a big risk'.
The duo are both recovering from long injury lay-offs, with Aston Villa defender Dunne not having played a game in seven months, while Leicester City centre back Sean St Ledger has been out of action since October 2012.
Trapattoni believes that it would be a 'risk' to play the pair together after such a length of time on the sidelines and hinted that John O'Shea or Ciaran Clark could partner Dunne in defence.
"Richard has told me he will be ready in two weeks but I told him to take his time, we need him for next month," Trapattoni told reporters.
"I hope they can all come back but if St Ledger and Dunne are available I don't think that I would play them together, it's a big risk for such an important game.
"But we are lucky to have John [O'Shea], he can play left, right or in the centre," added the former Juventus coach.
Meanwhile, Trapattoni has defended his decision to stick with the 4-4-2 tactical formation for the forthcoming qualifying games against Austria and Sweden, noting that it has been effective in the past.
"People forget that we achieved the play-off against France and qualified for the Euros with our (4-4-2) system," said the Ireland boss.
"Maybe there is the player between the striker and midfield, maybe we can also play like this. But for now we have not. And we achieved qualification. But it is a good option depending on which system the opponent has."
He added: "The result is not 100 per cent certain in football. But, for me, it is always the result first. After that we look for the performance.
"We need winner players. You like 'show' players but we need the result. Victory is our philosophy."