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fully focused A new deal is not something I’m fixated on - Ireland boss Stephen Kenny

Ireland boss insists he’s not ‘fixated’ on contract as he picks Wigan’s Keane for Azerbaijan trip

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny at yesterday's squad announcement in Abbotstown. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny at yesterday's squad announcement in Abbotstown. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny at yesterday's squad announcement in Abbotstown. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny says he’s not “fixated” on talks with the FAI about his future as Ireland manager and insists he will see out his contract until at least next July.

But the Ireland boss, with a record of one victory in 16 games, admits his side need to turn draws into wins in the final three games of an already-doomed World Cup qualifying campaign.

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill has indicated the national team’s status would be reviewed next month, at the end of the current campaign, with intense focus on Kenny who’s awaiting his first competitive win.

His contract ends in July, in the middle of the next Nations League campaign and if the last three qualifiers do not yield at least one win, the FAI board will have a decision to make on Kenny, who has called up Wigan striker Will Keane (28) for a possible Ireland debut in Baku next week.

“I don’t know about that. I’m just focused on the performance and getting the win against Azerbaijan,” said Kenny, adding there are no immediate plans for talks on his future with Hill.

“My contract is not up until July. It is not something I am very focused on. I am focused on the privileged job I have as international manager and just focused on doing the job and making sure we performed well. It’s not something I’m fixated on. From my point of view I’m just focused on preparing the team well now. I’m not interested in the politics behind the scenes.

“I never get involved in that. The main thing for me is that we’ve had good support from everyone in the FAI, really good support and we want to have a good window and we want to go to Azerbaijan and get a victory. That’s the ambition, we want to go to Azerbaijan really determined and get a result. That’s really my main focus,” added Kenny, who also said, in response to criticisms from ex-Ireland man Paul McGrath that “I hope to prove him wrong”.

“That’s what we want to do. I can’t affect anything else so I’m just focusing on that at the moment. I think there have been some very good performances in the campaign but we want to try to win those games, to win some games. That’s what we want. We have to work hard and get ready for next Saturday and get that victory.

“I think the team is evolving and wants to get better. We just need victories, we know that. We need to turn draws into wins,” added Kenny, who left out veterans James McCarthy, Darren Randolph, Ciaran Clark and Shane Long due to a lack of fitness or game-time.

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