Setanta Sports has confirmed that it will show the first leg of Ireland’s Euro 2012 play-off tie against Estonia live from Tallinn at 6.30am on Saturday, 12 November.
The second leg will be shown live from Dublin by ESPN at 6:45am, 16 November. A replay of the game will also be shown at 8pm later that day.
Meanwhile, the FAI is holding out hope that Shane Long still has a chance of featuring in next month’s crucial games against Estonia.
The initial news seemed to rule him out of both fixtures with the player’s club West Bromwich Albion expecting him to return to fitness in early December.
However, on the eve of Giovanni Trapattoni’s announcement of his preliminary squad for the games this Friday, Irish medical staff indicated that it is still too early to say how long the 24 -year-old’s recovery might take, but that his progress will be monitored over the course of the week.
A scan on the knee injured in a wild challenge by Alan Hutton in West Brom’s defeat of Aston Villa, has shown that Long’s cruciate ligaments are undamaged but, according to the club’s website there is: “severe bone bruising and a small bone chip inside the right knee”.
Long’s availability is of particular concern as Kevin Doyle is suspended for the first leg, while Robbie Keane is a doubt for both games due to injury.
Trapattoni’s most obvious remaining striking option is to pair Long’s club mate Simon Cox with Stoke City forward, Jonathan Walters.
However there also plenty of Irish strikers who have been left out of recent squads who are playing well for their clubs, including Celtic’s Anthony Stokes, Newcastle’s Leon Best and Leeds’ Andy Keogh.
Keogh will hope that his recent form for Leeds has made as much of an impression on Trapattoni as it has on Simon Grayson who says that he may look to sign the Irishman permanently from Wolves when his loan spell at Elland Road runs out in January.
Newcastle’s Best has also repeatedly staked his claim this season with three Premier League goals already this campaign, although Trapattoni has recently suggested that he believes the in-form striker needs to improve his work-rate before being considered.
“I am playing well and scoring goals, me and Shane are on the same amount in terms of Premier League goals. Goals win games and while working hard for the team helps, you can only run as hard as your body will let you,” said Best in response to the Irish manager’s remarks.