O'Neill targets Russia for Coleman

09 October 2017 04:35:34 EST

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has urged his side to defeat Wales on Monday and at least secure a World Cup play-off place for injured star Seamus Coleman.

The Irish travel to the Cardiff City Stadium for a must-win final Group D encounter against Chris Coleman's Welsh side.
 
A point would be enough for Wales to take second spot in the group, while Ireland need a win to at least secure the runner-up position which will guarantee a play-off place next month.

I think the view among the players is that if Russia was available to us and we could make it there, I would think Seamus would be very much at the forefronts of our minds.

Martin O'Neill

However, both sides will no doubt go for the win in the hope that they will qualify automatically if current group leaders Serbia slip up in their final game against Georgia.

O'Neill is obviously keen to guide Ireland to the finals in Russia next summer, but he claims his players have the added incentive of trying to make it for Coleman who suffered an horrific double leg fracture the last time the two sides met in March.

The 65-year-old was keen to avoid talk of revenge, but he said that the Everton man will be in their thinking.

"I don't know about revenge, but certainly I think the view among the players is that if Russia was available to us and we could make it there, I would think Seamus would be very much at the forefronts of our minds," O'Neill said.

"He has obviously been a class player, a world-class player and he's been essential for us. We have missed him and it would be nice to go there.

"He is making a good recovery now, but I think that when he's ready, he will get back to the form he showed both for club and country, and it would be nice if by the time he is back that he has got something to cheer on the international level."

Republic of Ireland are 14/5 to win in Cardiff, while Wales are priced at 23/20 and the draw is 12/5.

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