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Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman and Ronan Curtis during a Republic of Ireland training session at Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman and Ronan Curtis during a Republic of Ireland training session at Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman and Ronan Curtis during a Republic of Ireland training session at Stadion Rajko Mitic in Belgrade. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny is preparing to pitch Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty into the same side in an attempt to hit the ground running in Ireland’s World Cup qualifying tilt.

Kenny is under pressure to secure a result in Serbia tonight after a miserable run of seven games without a goal.

The Ireland manager has previously grappled with the choice between Coleman and Doherty for the right-back slot in his side.

But he has indicated that he has now formed a plan that accommodates both players although he was keeping his cards close to his chest on the eve of the game in Belgrade.

Coleman is a certainty to be restored to the side having missed out in Sofia last September but Doherty’s versatility means the Spurs player is also in line to figure.

“They are two of our better players and you have to find a way of getting the best out of your best players. That’s your job,” said Kenny.

“Matt can play in a few positions as well, so we’ll have to wait and see. I would like to answer the question more honestly but I think in the interests of not giving too much away to the opposition I think it would be foolish of me to do that.

“There are a few different ways where they can (both) be accommodated. Over the course of the week, I’m sure they’ll play together.”

Kenny has urged his Ireland players to live for today instead of thinking about tomorrow in an eight-game campaign crammed into four international windows.

Ireland take on their likely play-off rivals tonight before a home game with Luxembourg on Saturday and a near six-month wait for the next round of fixtures.

The Dubliner has doubts around the sharpness of Aaron Connolly, James McClean and the out-of-form Shane Duffy and that may guide decisions on the personnel front.

But he also stressed that his side must think in the here and now given that the campaign is closer to a sprint than a marathon.

“There are only eight games,” said Kenny. “If you start well, it can be about momentum at times. You don’t get many opportunities like that in life, so you’ve got to grasp it and take the opportunity and give everything of ourselves and when the game against Serbia is over then we can switch to the game against Luxembourg.

“There’ll certainly be tactical changes but all of the players are just focused on the game against Serbia now. We want to give everything of ourselves to get the best result that we possibly can.”

Coleman hasn’t played for Ireland in almost 18 months due to a combination of suspension, injuries and the fact Doherty was picked ahead of him when they reported for duty last September.

He strongly denied he had any issue with doing press before Kenny’s opening game in Bulgaria even though he knew he wasn’t playing – the Donegal man was furious with the speculation that he was humiliated by it – clarifying that he was given the choice.

“I read something about me being disappointed with being asked to go to a press conference,” said the captain, “The manager left me out of his first game, had the decency to call me to his room and explain the situation which I was fine with because Matt was playing very well at the time.

“And then to read that I was disappointed to be asked to go to a press conference when the manager had the decency to say you don’t have to do the press conference if you don’t want to.

“My duty as captain, my duty to the rest of the players is to be positive around the place whether I play or I don’t play. And I went to that press conference with absolutely no issues whatsoever.

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