The FAI are hoping to have sold out the Aviva Stadium for a friendly in Belgium

The FAI are hoping Saturday’s international friendly against Belgium will sell out as ticket sales have hit the 48,000 mark.

nd the more inconspicuous meeting with Lithuania three days later looks set to beat forecasts as nearly 33,000 tickets have already been sold for that encounter.

Ireland fans voted with their feet when stadiums reopened last autumn by coming out to support Stephen Kenny’s side, a factor that strengthened the manager’s hand when it came to contemplating his new contract .

Record season ticket sales (more than 18,500) for the six home games in 2022 reinforced this point.

The enthusiasm has impacted overall ticket sales for the doubles game at the Aviva Stadium that kicks off the international year.

Number ones Belgium are leaving any players with 50+ caps for their trip to Dublin but the absence of Kevin De Bruyne and company hasn’t affected the Irish crowd.

Turnout for Saturday night’s (5.0) encounter is now expected to fill the Dublin 4 venue.

Lithuania has likely always attracted smaller audiences, but early sales suggest attendance could surpass the 40,000 mark.

Meanwhile, midfielder Alan Browne believes strong ticket sales are a justification for the form Kenny’s side are in.

“It’s massive, it looks like we’ve turned the corner, all credit to the manager and the fans coming back to us, that bond between us and the fans was obvious and ticket sales went through the roof, eh You can see that,” he said.

“Hopefully they’re embracing the new way of football and the way we try to do things and things are looking good for us,” Browne said ahead of the first training session of the week.

“I think it’s always important to have fans on our side because they go through the gate to pay the money to watch football and I think thanks to the manager he stuck to his guns.

“He stuck to what he wanted us to do and it’s a long process, as you probably know. He was criticized a lot in the beginning but now things are looking better in terms of performances and results which is the most important thing.” The FAI are hoping to have sold out the Aviva Stadium for a friendly in Belgium

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