Paul McGrath - Bosnia are not all they are cracked up to be
I don't know the Euromillions Lotto numbers for next Tuesday, but I’ve proof that I can predict the future.
Two hours before Friday night’s kick-off, I told my Sunday World colleagues that we would nick a vital away goal in Zenica.
I just had a feeling that Bosnia were not all they were cracked up to be and thatIreland could get that key score to take back to Dublin.
After all, Bosnia struggled to beat Cyprus in their last qualifier. If they were really good, they would have gone through from their group automatically.
I’m delighted for goalscorer Robbie Brady who has bounced back from the crushing disappointment of being dumped by Manchester United after years in their youth system to build a good career for himself.
As someone who still has a big place in his heart for Aston Villa, I have to wonder why the club was not in for Robbie when he left Hull after their relegation last May.
He is just the sort of player they lack right now and has turned out to be a great buy for Norwich City and is growing into a good international player.
Now the trick for the Irish players is to finish the job. But the task is for Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane to get the tactics and selection spot on for the second leg.
If we can do that we can win and to that end, I want the Aviva crowd tomorrow night to be as they were in the wake of Shane Long’s memorable goal against Germany.
Let’s take the roof off our D4 home. Let’s show Bosnia, who thought they had an intimidating home, what a fortress is really like.
Call me old-school if you want, but I’d advise Martin and Roy to stick with ten of the players who did us proud from the off in Zenica.
The one change must be the return of Jon Walters up front for Daryl Murphy. Walters has been a warrior for Ireland in this campaign and he will be raring to go after missing the first leg of the play-off.
He’s also just the sort of player the visitors will hate playing against. Walters puts himself about and if you want a scrap he’ll give it to you in spades and I reckoned Bosnia’s defence was the weakest part of their team in the first leg.
They are vulnerable there, but every other one of Friday night’s heroes should start and be given the chance to finish the job against the Bosnians.
The adrenalin will be flowing and if lads start to tire, that’s when any of Robbie Keane, Darron Gibson, James McClean and Aiden McGeady can be brought in.
And you can add John O’Shea and Shane Long in too, if either man can give us half an hour.
Remember Bosnia will tire too, and they will have to chase the game so if we’ve fresh men to bring on, it will be a massive advantage. It was good tactics on O’Neill’s part,to get Wes Hoolahan off after an hour on Friday.
That tells me Wezzo is going to start tomorrow and he is just the player with the kind of craft required to break Bosnian hearts and send us to France next summer!