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green giants Time for Stephen Kenny’s Ireland to see the light shine at end of winless tunnel

Manager desperate for winning habits to start in Andorra

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James Collins keeps his eyes on the target during Ireland’s training session at Estadi Nacional in Andorra yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCARTHY/Sportsfile

James Collins keeps his eyes on the target during Ireland’s training session at Estadi Nacional in Andorra yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCARTHY/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny speaks with Harry Arter

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny speaks with Harry Arter

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James Collins keeps his eyes on the target during Ireland’s training session at Estadi Nacional in Andorra yesterday. Photo: Stephen McCARTHY/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny says this evening’s friendly with Andorra is the chance for his Irish team to start making winning a habit.

The manager has come under heavy scrutiny after failing to register a victory in his 11 games in charge and he will be expected to see off extremely modest opposition ranked 158th in the world this evening.

Kenny has stressed he will continue to give young players a chance as part of a transitional period as opposed to just sending out his most experienced side to break the winless stat.

He has stopped short of declaring it a must-win game in the context of his tenure but the Dubliner is acutely aware of the importance of a fixture that most outside observers would consider meaningless.

“It’s a match I want to win. I feel a bit disappointed that we haven’t won in the last few games, for sure, and we want to go back to winning ways and make a habit of winning,” said Kenny.

“Nobody gives you anything, you have to earn the right to win but of course we want to win and expect to win.”

Kenny is without his injured skipper Séamus Coleman although he has not given up hope of featuring against Hungary next Tuesday. New recruit Sammie Szmodics is out of both games after an old shoulder problem flared up.

Meanwhile, Kenny has ruled out another approach to Leeds striker Patrick Bamford after he missed out on England’s European Championships squad. Martin O’Neill and Mick McCarthy both previously tried to get Bamford on board and were knocked back and Kenny feels the ship has sailed.

“He was in the scheme of things, in contention maybe, for England for the European Championships. It’s not realistic to suggest that (Bamford would switch) at the moment.

“I think that was obviously his objective to go to the Euros and I have to respect that.

“There’s no doubt he’s a very good player, a quality centre-forward, but we have to believe in the talent that we have and work to improve.”

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