Holland to lead Ireland again

MATT Holland will skipper his country for the second time tonight when he leads the Republic of Ireland out at Lansdowne Road against Norway, writes Derek Davis.

MATT Holland will skipper his country for the second time tonight when he leads the Republic of Ireland out at Lansdowne Road against Norway, writes Derek Davis.

Ipswich Town midfielder Holland has recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to take his place in midfield and will wear the armband in front of the Dublin crowd after Kenny Cunningham was forced to return to Birmingham with a groin strain.

Irish boss Brian Kerr first made Holland captain for the friendly win over Scotland in February.

Holland last night told me: "Kenny has gone back so I have got the job and I'm thrilled. It is an important game for us. I know friendlies are not always given much credence but we have played away from Lansdowne Road for a few games now and we want to feel the Dublin crowd again.


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"It will be brilliant for me to lead the team out for the first time at Lansdowne Road but more importantly is to use the game as a good preparation for our qualifying games in June. We still have a lot to do but we can still make the finals."

The loyal Blues captain, who was made Supporters' Player of the Year, and joint runner-up in the Players' Player of the Year, has once again been pressed on his future and while admitting Sunday's game against Derby could be his last in a Town shirt he insisted nothing was certain.

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But as much as Holland may want to stay he knows the club will find it hard to turn down offers and if the right Premiership club came in for him he will have little choice but to accept.

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