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Never has a meaningless friendly against Andorra meant so much. Ireland – and Stephen Kenny in particular – are in desperate need of a long-awaited win, no matter the occasion or the opposition. The Boys in Green have not won any game in their last 11 games in a run of results stretching back to a friendly win over New Zealand in November 2019.
Kenny has yet to oversee a win during his ten-game reign as Ireland manager and desperately needs a victory on Thursday night to take some pressure off.
Anything other than a win against the minnows of Andorra will leave the boss in a perilous position, but Ireland really should have no trouble securing a hugely important victory. Andorra have won just one game in the last three years – a Euro 2020 qualifying win over 10-man Moldova – and have failed to win in each of their last 12 games.
Considering the majority of those games have come against bottom-tier Nations League teams, Andorra represents extremely beatable opposition for an Ireland team that would take a win against literally anyone at this stage.
17:00: Andorra v Republic of Ireland
Sky Sports Premier League
Andorra have conceded 18 goals in their last five games against Hungary, Poland, Albania, Latvia, and Malta, meaning that even this notoriously poor Irish side should find some goalscoring joy. Ireland, meanwhile, have only kept one clean sheet in their last six games and are not guaranteed to keep the Andorrans out on Thursday by any means.
Irish defenders have not covered themselves in glory for their clubs this season, while Andorra did at least manage to score against an impressive Hungary side in March in a 4-1 defeat. There is every chance that they will score a consolation goal against the Boys in Green at the very least.
It speaks volumes about Ireland’s goalscoring options that James Collins is easily one of their most prolific forwards. Collins scored a modest 13 goals for Luton in all competitions and was one of three players in the Ireland squad to reach double digits for their club last season along with Sammie Szmodics and Jamie McGrath.
His hard work and endeavour saw him pull one goal back for Ireland in their defeat to Serbia last March and is one the likeliest players in Kenny’s squad to find the back of the net against Andorra. Collins is likely to see game time on Thursday given the injuries to Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson and can improve on his relatively decent record of two goals in eight international games.
Troy Parrott will be the first to admit that his loan spells to Millwall and Ipswich haven’t exactly gone to plan. The Dubliner’s time at Millwall was hampered by a string of injuries, while his two goals in 18 league appearances at Ipswich would have done little to improve his confidence.
However, he ended the season on a positive note by scoring on the final day of the season with a well taken finish against Fleetwood.
Like Collins, Parrott is likely to see some minutes on Thursday given Ireland’s lack of attacking options and he will be hoping to put a disappointing season behind him by scoring his first senior international goal.
His goalscoring ability was never in doubt at underage level and he will get chances against a porous Andorra defence.
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