Having announced that Richard Dunne is almost certain to start Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Faroe Islands yesterday, it seems Giovanni Trapattoni might have been a bit quick out of the blocks to comment on the defender’s fitness.
Mind you, communication hasn’t been the Italian’s forte as confusion has often ruled supreme during his five years in charge of the Boys in Green.
Trapattoni revealed on Monday that both Richard Dunne and Wes Hoolahan are ‘90% certain’ to start Friday’s Group C clash with the Faroes. However, 33-year-old Dunne sat out Tuesday’s full-squad training session in Malahide, fuelling speculation that he is not yet ready to return to competitive action despite his manager’s comments.
The centre-back returned from a twelve month injury lay-off during Sunday’s 4-0 victory over Georgia but has just twenty-five minutes of game time under his belt since last June.
It would complete an astonishing turn-around for Dunne, who has admitted he feared his career could be over as he underwent three bouts of surgery in a bid to solve persistent groin and hip injuries.
However, assistant manager Marco Tardelli was quick to insist the decision was purely cautionary as the Boys in Green stepped up their preparations for the crucial clash with the Group C minnows.
"Richard is here with us and he has recovered well. I think it's possible he will play but I don't know whether it will be in the Faroes game or against Spain." He said.
"Today he had a rest because he played the first important match after one year out and it's normal to rest. It's just good for him to be here."
The no-nonsense defender wasn’t the only notable absentee from training this morning as goalkeeper David Forde and left-back Marc Wilson also watched on as well as spending some time in the gym.
The management are hopeful the duo will be able to take full part on Wednesday.
Ireland are currently level on points with Sweden and Austria and know nothing less than three points will do on Friday as the race to Brazil intensifies.
"We want to play like we did against Georgia but we have different opponents and against the Faroes we need to take the ball and play well." Tadelli added.
"It's possible we can play like we did against Georgia but sometimes that's impossible. The England game was very important but the big match is Ireland-Faroe as it's a qualifier to get to Brazil."
And Tardelli added: "We need to forget the England and Georgia games and focus on this match. The players have worked very hard this morning and they are focused on the game."
Robbie Keane is expected to win his 126th cap and that will establish a new record for Ireland.
Keane is also the nation's leading scorer with 56 goals, and former defender Tardelli is well aware of his enduring threat.
He said: "Robbie has big experience and it's difficult to play against him - also for me when I was a player. I'm joking!
"For us, he's very important. Against Georgia when he came on the pitch, the team changed.
"The team knows he has good experience and knows he is always there when they need him, and that is very important.
"What he has done in his career shows what a good player he is. He is good for football and the Irish team."