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Ireland number one Gavin Bazunu withdrawn from Ireland squad as Caoimhin Kelleher set to start

Gavin Bazunu has been withdrawn from the Ireland squad due to illness. Picture: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Aidan Fitzmaurice

CAOIMHIN Kelleher is in line to start for Ireland in Saturday's friendly at home to Belgium as Gavin Bazunu has withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

And a call-up for uncapped Bristol City keeper Max O'Leary as his replacement will be seen as another snub for Darren Randolph.

The West Ham man posted that he “hasn't retired yet” on social media when James Talbot of Bohemians was called in to replace the injured Mark Travers. With two of the three keepers from the initial squad now unavailable to Kenny, Randolph will wonder if his international career is over at the age of 34.

O'Leary has not been capped at any level to date but Kenny and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely have been impressed with the 25-year-old, who has played only eleven games for City this season. He last received a call-up in May 2019 for a training camp in Portugal.

O'Leary, who qualifies through an Irish grandparent, will train with the squad in Dublin on Thursday.

Republic of Ireland Squad - Belgium & Lithuania

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), James Talbot (Bohemians), Max O'Leary (Bristol City).

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Nathan Collins (Burnley), Dara O'Shea (West Bromwich Albion), Jimmy Dunne (Queens Park Rangers).

Midfielders: Conor Hourihane (Sheffield United, on loan from Aston Villa), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Jeff Hendrick (QPR, on loan from Newcastle United), Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Jason Knight (Derby County), Mark Sykes (Oxford United).

Forwards: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion), Troy Parrott (MK Dons, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Will Keane (Wigan Athletic), Scott Hogan (Birmingham City), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Connor Ronan (St. Mirren, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers).

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