Republic of Ireland in-focus: What should fans expect from Georgia & Serbia games

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It’s a huge week ahead for Republic of Ireland fans as their team look to successfully navigate a Group D double-header in the quest for World Cup 2018 qualification.

Martin O’Neill’s squad travel to Tbilisi this Saturday to take on Georgia, followed by a home fixture in Dublin against Serbia.

We take a look at what supporters of the Boys In Green should be looking out for, and what to expect from the two games.

The good news

The Republic of Ireland have played Georgia eight times before and on each occasion have come away with the win.

The pair met in qualifying for Euro 2016 with Aiden McGeady netting a brilliant last minute winner to break Georgian hearts at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena.

The Irish are also unbeaten in Group D so far and have only tasted defeat under MON twice in qualifying games for major tournaments.

Serbia travel to the Aviva Stadium looking to break Irish hearts but they’ll need to do something special.

Under MON, the Republic have yet to lose in a competitive game on home soil. They really are a team for the big occasion.

The bad news

O’Neill and Roy Keane have a number of injury headaches and absences to deal with ahead of the two games.

Pivotal player, Jon Walters, hasn’t been able to train with the squad all week and is considered touch-and-go to start.

Midfielders, Jeff Hendrick and James McCarthy are definitely out through injury.

And the Irish will need all their best players to be in-form as Georgia can be a notoriously difficult place to get a result.

The Georgians have lost just twice in their last eight on home turf, whereas the Republic have never beaten them by more than one goal there.

Expectations

ROI fans will be expecting a minimum of four points from these two games. The more optimistic will be hoping for six.

Three points from Georgia and a point against Serbia would certainly be the prerequisite but six points are definitely attainable.

The Irish record against Georgia is phenomenal and O’Neill’s team tend to always get a result in the big games in Dublin.

Should they bag the six points, Irish eyes will be smiling as qualification for the World Cup in Russia draws ever closer.

All Odds and Market are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.