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Trap not worrying over Keane
Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni believes that striker Robbie Keane will be fit enough to take to the pitch against Slovakia and Russia in their upcoming matches despite making a long-distance journey.
Keane joined MLS club LA Galaxy over the summer and is scheduled to arrive in Dublin on Tuesday to group with the rest of the Ireland team for their Euro 2012 Group B qualifying games against Slovakia at home on Friday and against Russia away four days later.
Some doubts have been raised on the effect the long-distance travel would have on Keane, but Trapattoni is confident that the 31-year-old will face no problem.
"I spoke with him and he went with enthusiasm," said the Italian tactician. "He told me he was happy.
"He wished also to be with the Irish team and he will be with us this week. I am sure also now after one day's rest he can play despite the long flight."
Ireland, Slovakia and Russia all have picked up 13 points in the group so far, and Trapattoni fully comprehends the significance of the matches.
"We must prepare for these two games with more attention - I say more because it is always important to improve," he said. "Every game shows us or teaches us that it is possible to improve again.
"For example, for the last (friendly) game against Croatia, we were missing two or three important players. But the players who came in played well, and I am confident about them.
"I saw how it's possible to improve not only the system, but the attitude, mentality and how it's possible to achieve the result when we are missing one or two important players.
"Now against Slovakia and against Russia, we need to start with the winning mentality because I think we can do that. But we have to think about Russia only after three days."
Trapattoni, though, will have to make do without the services of Birmingham City midfielder Keith Fahey, who has withdrawn from the squad because of a groin problem.
Date: 2011-08-31 12:54:22