Stephen Kenny will lead the Republic of Ireland into the clash against Armenia fearing the repercussions of the Nations League campaign.
Ireland need a positive result in Dublin to avoid relegation from League B after their hopes of topping the group and securing a place among the second-seeded places for the Euro 2024 draw went up in smoke.
After Euro 2020 runners-up England and world champions France slipped out of the top 10 on their Nations League results, Kenny’s men could be in for a nightmare in qualifying, although he’s not overly concerned about what lies ahead lies.
The Ireland manager said: “You are right, England and France are second but they are better than some of the teams in the front row. Some of the teams in the first seed list are not that strong. That can even out.
“We’ll see what the draw brings. I think our rate of improvement and the potential that is there and the growing bond that we have and connection with the support behind the team is so emphatic.
“It is our absolute goal to qualify for the top 2. We’ll see what the draw brings and go from there.
“Also the fourth seed, there are also one or two strong fourth seeds. That doesn’t bother me because then other teams lose points.”
Ireland host Armenia at the Aviva stadium, who need a draw to stay in League B after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat in Scotland, although Wolves defender Nathan Collins insists his approach will not change.
Collins said: “This is football, isn’t it? You want to win every game, you have to win every game. I don’t think there is a game that you don’t want to go and win, but there isn’t a game that we go into thinking we can’t win no matter who the opponent is.
“We could play against the best in the world – like we did against Belgium – and we think we can win, so that doesn’t really change anything.”
Collins met with his international team-mates after being sent off for an agricultural challenge against Manchester City’s Jack Grealish, although he put the incident behind him after clearing the air with the England midfielder after the game.
He said: “Shortly after the game I was outside the dressing room talking to someone and I saw them. I spoke to him and said, ‘Listen, I didn’t want to approach you in a duel, I was approaching the ball and didn’t mean anything by that.’
“He said, ‘Yeah, that’s no problem, I didn’t think you had that.'”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/stephen-kenny-armenia-ireland-england-nations-league-b2175860.html Stephen Kenny is not worried about what could be a tough Euro 2024 qualifying campaign