Trap targets top spot

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Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni wants to send his players on holiday with a spring in their step by topping their World Cup qualifying group over the summer.

The Irish can leapfrog world champions Italy with victory over Bulgaria in Sofia on Saturday and, despite the trip coming at the end of a long domestic season, Trapattoni feels his side are capable of maintaining their unbeaten run in Group Eight.

"Why not? After the (friendly) game with Nigeria we showed we can play well and with confidence," he said. "The players have played well in qualifying and they will get stronger. I have confidence in them."

Tottenham striker Robbie Keane sat out training on Tuesday with a foot problem, but Trapattoni is certain he will be fit for the weekend.

"It was just as a precaution, he has some inflammation under his foot, it's nothing serious and he will be fine for Saturday," he said.

Of more concern will be an injury to Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan, who left the training ground with his ankle heavily strapped, while Manchester United rookie Darron Gibson is ruled out with groin trouble.

Trapattoni also rested goalkeeper Shay Given while running the rule over potential understudies Colin Doyle and Wayne Henderson.

With Dean Kiely heading home after being told he would not feature in last week's match against Nigeria, and Kieren Westwood getting married, Trapattoni has been desperately searching for cover.

The crisis deepened with the news Sheffield United's Paddy Kenny could not change his holiday plans so Birmingham's Doyle and Henderson of Preston will vie to be on the bench in Sofia.

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

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Tottenham Hotspur
Robbie Keane
Stoke City
Colin Doyle
Premier League
Preston North End
Manchester United
Dean Kiely
Shay Given
Keiren Westwood
Sheffield United
Darron Gibson
Glenn Whelan
Wayne Henderson

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