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team news Stephen Kenny facing Séamus Coleman dilemma for Portugal showdown after Andrew Omobamidele injury

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Séamus Coleman and manager Stephen Kenny during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Séamus Coleman and manager Stephen Kenny during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Séamus Coleman and manager Stephen Kenny during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny is contemplating leaving Séamus Coleman out of tonight’s (7.45) World Cup clash with Portugal and keeping him fresh for Sunday’s group finale with Luxembourg due to concerns the skipper will not be able to play twice in four days.

But a late injury to Andrew Omobamidele has dealt Kenny a headache when it comes to his Plan ‘A’ in the defensive department.

The manager admitted last week that Coleman’s ability to play both games was in question due to recurring hamstring problems that have curtailed his season and forced his absence from the October double-header.

Ireland need a strong finish to the campaign to secure a new contract for Kenny. A win in Luxembourg is needed for the manager whereas the showdown with the top seeds in front of a full house is closer to a free shot, although the manager has stressed the two matches are of equal importance.

Kenny was coy when asked whether his skipper would feature at the Aviva Stadium, but the Donegal man was not present at the pre-match press conference and his boss strongly hinted he would mix things up in the wing-back department with Coleman, Matt Doherty, Enda Stevens and James McClean vying for the spots.

Leaving Coleman out would see Doherty feature at right wing-back with McClean or Stevens selected on the left.

However, promising Norwich teenager Omobamidele did not train on the eve of the game on account of an Achilles issue and it’s possible Coleman could come into the manager’s thinking as an option for the right of the back three.

Bringing in Nathan Collins for Omobamidele would be a straight swap, and Kenny said he would have no fear about giving the Burnley player a competitive debut.

“We are trying to improve the level of competition throughout the squad. Probably in those (defensive) areas it is more competitive than anywhere else,” said Kenny.

“We’re quite strong in wing-back areas. We have changed the system and Séamus Coleman has been terrific for us. You need that (options) with matches on Thursday and Sunday, particularly with the demands of the wing-back and with the system, they are probably the most demanding positions.

“Séamus is a terrific player and it’s great that he is back from injury playing for Everton and has got some matches in.

“Both games are equally important. Don’t put one in front of the other in terms of precedence. We’ll pick the team we feel is right for this game and inevitably there can be changes for Sunday.”

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Portugal are also contemplating personnel changes with Sunday in mind as they have six players on a yellow.

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