Kevin Kilbane: History suggests Ireland won't have an easy time against Georgia

Off The Ball co-presenter looks ahead to a crucial qualifier

BY Kevin Kilbane 10:50 Thursday 6 October 2016, 10:50 6 Oct 2016

Kevin Kilbane ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

I can't see Martin O'Neill changing the system from the 4-4-2 diamond shape in Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

Within that, you can have a Jon Walters that's maybe up front and you can switch it to a 4-5-1. But my personal team for the game would be Randolph in goal; Coleman at right-back; Duffy and Keogh as centre-backs with Stephen Ward at left-back.

The base of the diamond would be James McCarthy. Right side would be Hendrick, left side McClean. Tip of the diamond would be Brady, and Long and Walters up front.

I don't think Martin has got too many more options. The only other options you could see would be Whelan coming in for McCarthy, while O'Shea could come in for Duffy or Keogh. And he could actually play Hoolahan instead of Ward and put Brady left-back. It looks to me that he's going to play Brady as a No 10. That's where he played him against Serbia.

That looks like the more natural team for me because it's a continuation from the previous game.

Within the side, I just think we need an impact player from the bench and if he's going to start Wes Hoolahan, the only feasible way I could see it continue with an impact player would be to leave James McClean out.

But James McClean has been playing really well. So I just think in certain games, particularly at this level, we're going to have to have a player that comes on and changes a game.

There's a lot of pressure because there's a lot of inexperience on the bench. There's no Daryl Murphy, so we don't have him in there as well.

If you played Robbie Brady left-back and Wes Hoolahan and went all-out attack, if it isn't quite working for us then, it could be great and could work out for us. It's a really positive selection.

But I think there's a real option to have Wes Hoolahan as that impact player. I'd probably start him in one of the two games. But I'd probably leave him out of this one and save him for the Moldova match. 

Overall, we should be better than Georgia. We should be going out there with a positive mindset and put the game to bed and safe. But it doesn't always pan out like that. 

History suggests against Georgia and against a lot of the teams of a similar style to them, it could be a difficult night. It might be a nervy night.

We took six points off them in the Euros campaign. The home game especially was very, very nervy. The away game just wasn't a good performance, whereas the home match, Georgia sat off and we had a lot of the ball that night. But we just couldn't find the opening so I don't think it will be any different from nine competitive games ago when we played them at Aviva Stadium last September.

At the Aviva after the old Landsdowne Road days, we hadn't had a big night that a lot of people could put reference to and say 'that was the big night'.

But the Germany game changed everything and from then on, I feel it has been a better atmosphere at the Aviva. I think that was, in many respects, almost like the opening night for the stadium. 

It was a stadium which had come of age so I think that's always going to be at the forefront of people's minds when they go back to the Aviva.

I think that creates its buzz and intensity off the back of that Germany match.  

Ahead of the Georgia game, both Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane have put out the right message. Anyone that's saying that the game will be a total walk in the park, it's crazy to think that.

Every single team now knows how to set themselves up defensively and what to do to get results.

It will be one of those games I feel as though it might not necessarily be exciting, and we might not see great football on the night. But the one thing that is a necessity from this game is the three points. I think any Irish fan would take a 1-0 win with a poor performance.

Then Martin O'Neill could answer all the questions afterwards. He'd rather answer all the questions from a winning position, then coming in after a draw or a defeat. 

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