Kevin Foley is hoping Wolves’ blistering start to the football season 2011 can help the Republic of Ireland edge closer to their Euro 2012 dreams. The 26-year-old is one of four men from the Premier League club included in Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for Friday night’s qualifier against Slovakia and the daunting trip to Russia four days later with many sportsbook offers.
Wolves, managed by former head boss Mick McCarthy, headed into the international break sitting proudly in fifth place in the Barclays Premier League sportsbook table after two wins and a draw in their opening three games. Foley, Stephen Ward, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Doyle have each played a part in that hugely impressive return to date, and joined up with their international football team-mates brimming with confidence. However, McCarthy sent them on their way under orders to keep their feet firmly on the ground, a sentiment which will be shared by the vastly experienced Trapattoni.
When Foley said that there’s a long way to go and the gaffer is the first one to say it, ‘There are 35 football games left, don’t get too carried away’. If any of the lads get carried away, they will soon know about it from the gaffer. He has stated that as long as we finish higher than we did last season with more points, that’s brilliant for him and brilliant for us. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so if we can stay in the league for another season and build on that, it’s good progress. Things are going well, but the most important thing now is for it all to go well for the Ireland football sportsbook rather than just at the club. Wolves and Newcastle, who are at the same level on points, have perhaps surprised a few people as they cling on to the coat-tails of a top four comprising Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, although Foley insists there is no sense of shock within the camp. They have had a couple of new faces come in – Roger Johnson and Jamie O’Hara – and they really have added to the squad.
If the new domestic season remains in its infancy, the Euro Football 2012 qualifying campaign is coming to a head, and Ireland’s hopes of making next summer’s finals in Poland and the Ukraine could be all but decided during the next week. Trapattoni’s men are currently locked together with Slovakia and Russia at the top of Group B on 13 points, and two victories would out them in pole position to clinch automatic qualification. Equally, defeat in either game could prove fatal and no one is under any illusion as to what is at stake. It’s pretty much all come down to this. It’s been so tight all the way through the group stage, and what a big football week ahead we have got.
Ireland will hope to gain revenge for their only defeat of the sportsbook campaign to date, by Russia at the Aviva Stadium in October, when they head for Moscow next week. But they know even that would count for little if they do not do the job when the Slovakian head for Dublin on Friday, although a run of four wins, including a friendly success against Italy, and a draw in their last five games has simply served to increase belief. I’m sure the football team, as always, will be well organised and if we can get a win, it will set us up nicely for the Russia game. But there are a lot of ifs and buts. We have got to go out there and do what we have been doing recently, just put on a good performance and get the points.”