Keogh primed for Italian test

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Andy Keogh is gearing himself up for one of the biggest tests of his career to date in Italy on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old Wolves striker is in line to replace Aiden McGeady on the right side of midfield for the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier at Bari's San Nicola Stadium if the Celtic man fails to recover from a knee injury suffered in Saturday night's 1-1 draw with Bulgaria.

McGeady did not train with his team-mates in Malahide on Tuesday morning before flying out to Italy, and although the Irish camp are hopeful he will make it, Keogh has been placed on red alert.

His last competitive start for his country came in a 0-0 draw with Germany in October 2007, and he is relishing the chance to pitch himself into battle with another of Europe's biggest sides.

Keogh said: "If I was to start, it would be a great game to be involved in and if not, hopefully I will be able to come on and make an impact of some sort."

Trapattoni has invested great faith in the likes of Keogh and Stephen Hunt, the men who have effectively becomes the deputies for wide men Damien Duff and McGeady during his reign.

Hunt replaced the injured Duff on Saturday and is set to continue in Italy, while the Wolves man too could be given a chance by a manager who has described him in the past as a "clever" player.

Keogh said with a smile: "The manager calls me a clever player? Well, it's nice to hear.

"I wouldn't want to be called a stupid player.

"He gives you confidence. He has class, he definitely gives you a lift. He makes you really want to kick on and get out there, and do the business for him."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Stephen Hunt
Damien Duff
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Stephen Hunt

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