By Robert Cottingham
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill insists his side will not be playing for a draw in their second leg play-off match against Bosnia despite taking a slim advantage in to the match after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Zenica.
While a goalless draw will be enough to take Ireland to Euro 2016, O’Neill claims his side will play on the front foot.
“We have to try and win the game. This has to be the mind set”, said O’Neill in the pre-match press conference, warning that holding out for a draw is a “recipe for disaster”.
The manager is wary of the threat posed by a Bosnian side that includes Roma duo Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic, both of whom are capable of scoring goals from nothing.
Ireland, though, will be boosted by the returns of John O’Shea and Jon Walters. O’Shea is fit again following a hamstring injury, while Walters returns after being suspended for the 1-1 draw in the first leg.
Shane Long joined the duo in training ahead of the Dublin clash, but remains a doubt to start and looks set for a place among the substitutes, as O’Neill favours Walters to lead the line for Ireland.
O’Shea looks set to replace Ciaran Clark at centre back, with Walters’ starting berth coming at the expense of Daryl Murphy who missed a pre-match training session with a calf problem. Stephen Ward is likely to continue at left back despite being substituted in the first leg after enduring a tough time up against Bosnia’s Edin Visca.
Meanwhile for Bosnia, Everton midfielder Muhamed Besic looks come in to midfield after returning from suspension.
Predicted line ups for Ireland and Bosnia: