O'Neill talks up unbeaten record

04 September 2017 11:57:57 EST

Republic of Ireland head coach Martin O'Neill has urged his side to make sure at the very least that they avoid defeat at home to Serbia on Tuesday evening.

The Irish currently occupy second place in World Cup qualifying Group D, a position which may be good enough to secure a play-off place for the finals in Russia next summer.

If we win, then we set ourselves up for a grandstand finish.

Martin O'Neill

However, with both Wales and Austria still in contention, O'Neill is well aware of the importance of the visit of group leaders Serbia to the Aviva Stadium, with the Serbs currently just two points ahead of the Irish in the standings.

He told reporters: "We're in there fighting, that's what we're doing. We are unbeaten in the group at this moment. It's hard to believe, but we're unbeaten in the group.

"We're going to try and do two things - win the game, and if we can't do that, then we'll try to get something out of it. But first and foremost, we're going to try and win the match.

"If we win, then we set ourselves up for a grandstand finish."

O'Neill will again be without Jeff Hendrick due to a thigh injury, with the Burnley midfielder having missed the 1-1 draw in Georgia on Saturday.

He also has doubts over Wes Hoolahan (groin) and Aiden McGeady (hamstring) as the Irish aim to snap a run of three consecutive draws in qualifying.

The two sides shared the spoils when they met in Belgrade in September last year, with a late Daryl Murphy strike earning the visitors a 2-2 draw.

Ireland are available at 11/5 to win the game on Tuesday evening and are 10/3 to secure victory by a one-goal margin, with Southampton striker Shane Long priced at 11/5 to score at any time.

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