Collins named in provisional squad for Irish double-header

Town striker James Collins
Town striker James Collins

Luton striker James Collins has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for next month's double-header against New Zealand and Denmark at the Aviva Stadium.

The 28-year-old, who has three caps to his name, is part of a 39-man provisional squad for the two games, with the friendly against the All Whites on November 14 coming four days before the Euro 2020 showdown with the Danes.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has named QPR defender Ryan Manning and Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in his squad for the first time, while Robbie Brady, yet to play for Ireland this season but back in contention at Burnley, and Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick, who missed the games against Georgia and Switzerland earlier this month, return to the extended squad with McCarthy set to name his final list early next week.

Newcastle United’s Ciaran Clark and Blackburn’s Darragh Lenihan, who missed the October games with a knee injury, are pushing to feature in a final squad for the first time under McCarthy, as well as Crystal Palace midfielder James McCarthy.

Teenage striker Aaron Connolly and Tottenham’s Troy Parrott are also named alongside fellow U21 internationals, Stoke City's Nathan Collins and Southampton’s Michael Obafemi.

“This is a huge month for us and these are two very different games,” said McCarthy.

“The New Zealand game is a chance to have a look at the players who are fighting to be in the team and some of the players fighting to be in the squad.

"We saw how beneficial it was to change things up for the recent Bulgaria friendly and we may well do that again against New Zealand.

“It could be the perfect opportunity to have a look at Troy Parrott for example and see how he makes the step-up to senior international football after impressing so many people at underage level with Ireland and Spurs.

“We know what we have to do against Denmark and we will look to the tried and the trusted to win that game but who knows what will happen against New Zealand.

"Maybe someone will take their chance in that match and give me something to think about.”

Provisional Ireland squad v New Zealand and Denmark

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth), Kieran O’Hara (Burton Albion, on loan from Manchester United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool).

Defenders: Matt Doherty (Wolves), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), John Egan (Sheffield United), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Kevin Long (Burnley), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers), Ryan Manning (QPR), Nathan Collins (Stoke City).

Midfielders: Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic, on loan from West Ham United), Glenn Whelan (Hearts), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Robbie Brady (Burnley), James McClean (Stoke City), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), James McCarthy (Crystal Palace), Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers).

Forwards: Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton Town), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Callum Robinson (Sheffield United), Aidan O’Brien (Millwall), Kieran Sadlier (Doncaster Rovers), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Shane Long (Southampton), Michael Obafemi (Southampton), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Scott Hogan (Stoke City, on loan from Aston Villa).