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Ireland v Oman preview

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill will be given a last chance to shape his side when they take on Oman on Wednesday.

The clash at the Aviva Stadium comes four days before Ireland's opening European Qualifier in Georgia - O'Neill's first competitive game in charge.

Since taking over from former boss Giovanni Trapattoni last November, O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane have overseen just one win – a 3-0 success against Latvia in their first game.

Since then, Ireland have posted three draws and three defeats, the latest a 5-1 reverse to Portugal in June.

Ireland face world champions Germany, Poland, Scotland, Georgia and Gibraltar in Group D, and will be looking for a positive start to their campaign against first Georgia and then minnows Gibraltar next month before a tough trip to Germany.

It is therefore important to build momentum against Oman and O'Neill said: "I have had the opportunity to work with the players since last November, and we are well prepared as we embark upon the first of our qualifiers.

"Oman will provide a good test to start our trip before we travel to Tbilisi. We are focused on the task in hand, and look forward to the challenges ahead of us."

In team news, O'Neill now has 26 players at his disposal after West Ham defender Joey O'Brien withdrew from his trimmed-down squad through injury.

Darron Gibson will return to the side at the Aviva Stadium after almost a year out through injury after O'Neill confirmed the Everton midfielder will be given a chance to prove his match fitness ahead of Sunday's qualifier.

Shay Given will start in goal for the first time since Euro 2012 after coming out of international retirement, while Newcastle's Rob Elliot will also get some minutes between the posts.

Skipper Robbie Keane is in the squad and expected to be fit for the game in Tbilisi, but the LA Galaxy striker will be monitored in the run-up to the Dublin friendly.

James McCarthy is unlikely to feature in the friendly as he is given time to rest blisters on his feet ahead of Sunday's crucial clash.

Speaking of his team selection for Wednesday, O'Neill told the Irish Mirror: "Darron is a very, very decent footballer and I'm looking forward to seeing him play.

"Quite a few of the players have played together but there's some of them I wouldn't mind seeing. I'll have a look at things.

"There are a number of players who may not have played much club football so this game is pretty essential."

He added: "The Oman game is to get preparation in but the boys who don't start tonight, but are assured of playing on Sunday, are ready."

For Oman, Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi is set to skipper his side.

Ireland squad: Forde, Westwood, Given, Elliot, Keogh, Wilson, Coleman, O'Shea, Pearce, McCarthy, Ward, Whelan, Gibson, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean, Brady, Quinn, Meyler, Hoolahan, Keane, Long, Murphy, Walters, Doyle, Stokes.