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Ipswich attackers McGoldrick and Murphy now an option for Ireland

If Martin O’Neill needs any reassurance about the value of playing new call-up David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy together in attack, then he can ask one of his predecessors as Republic of Ireland national boss, Mick McCarthy. Just make sure Roy Keane isn’t with him if he does!

Eire are 11/10 chances with Coral to reach the Euro 2016 finals from qualifying Group D, which also contains British Isles rivals Scotland, who O’Neill’s men meet in Glasgow next. Early match betting makes Gordon Strachan’s side 11/8 favourites for three points, with the Republic 9/4 chances and a draw at odds of 2/1.

McGoldrick, 26, has settled at Ipswich Town following early promise at Southampton and multiple loan spells while on the book at St Mary’s and Nottingham Forest. Having recently discovered his Irish heritage (he is eligible through his grandparents), there is now a chance for Murphy and he to turn out together in attack for both for club and country.

It’s a worthwhile experiment for O’Neill to make, perhaps more suitable to the end of calendar year friendly against the USA, though, rather than the Scotland qualifier. Ireland captain and record scorer Robbie Keane and the in-form Shane Long look set to start that competitive action, with Kevin Doyle, Anthony Stokes and Jon Walters also on the roster.

Since first playing together in 2012/13, McGoldrick and Murphy’s partnership has contributed over 50 league goals to the Tractor Boys. With 15 between them in the Championship this term, it’s no wonder McCarthy’s men sit fourth in the table and are tempting 4/1 promotion chances.

Ipswich’s Bartosz Bialkowski has certainly given his backing to McGoldrick and Murphy, hailing the duo as “the best partnership in the league”. The Polish keeper waxed lyrical about them following a recent win over promotion rivals Watford.

“When you look at them, they both have strength and power and are great finishers,” Bialkowski added. “They are full of confidence. It is great for us defenders to know we’ve got somebody up front who can score every game.”

Odds of 11/4 say 31-year-old Murphy will net anytime against Scotland.

Updated Republic of Ireland squad to face Scotland and USA
Goalkeepers: David Forde (Millwall), Shay Given (Aston Villa), Darren Randolph (Birmingham City), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Reading), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Richard Keogh and Cyrus Christie (both Derby County)

Midfielders: Darron Gibson, James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady (all Everton), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City), James McClean (Wigan Athletic) Robbie Brady, David Meyler and Stephen Quinn (all Hull City)

Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Jon Walters (Stoke), Kevin Doyle (Crystal Palace), Anthony Stokes (Celtic), Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick (both Ipswich Town)