sport

Stokes: Irish face stern test

Anthony Stokes expects the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifying campaign to go 'right to the wire.'

Martin O'Neill's squad were drawn in Group D alongside Germany, Scotland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar.

Celtic striker Stokes admits Germany are likely to top the six-team pool, but believes the battle for the second qualifying slot will be fiercely contested.

"It's a difficult group, as most of them are. But I'm sure we will be able to compete and I'm looking forward to it," said Stokes.

"Germany will be the firm favourites while Poland have a very strong squad, so it should be interesting. It's too hard to say which way it will go. Every game will be important. It will be one of those groups that goes right to the wire."

Stokes could line-up against Parkhead team-mates Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths when the Republic travel to Hampden to face the Scots on Friday, November 14.

"There's already been a bit of banter with the boys," said Stokes. "I never used to get on too well with Broony (Brown) when I was playing against him so who knows what will happen this time.

"But he's a great lad and I know his qualities. He will give us some stiff opposition.

"I think it will be two great games. It's two closely-matched teams. You never know how it will go on the night."