Andrews on verge of first Ireland start

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Keith Andrews will complete a remarkable journey if he gets the nod for the Republic of Ireland's World Cup clash with Georgia.

The 28-year-old Blackburn midfielder could be the man to answer manager Giovanni Trapattoni's problem in the middle of the field at Croke Park on Wednesday, with club-mate Steven Reid injured and Sunderland's Andy Reid out of favour.

Trapattoni paired Darron Gibson with regular Glenn Whelan for both the 1-0 Group Eight victory over Cyprus in October and the 3-2 friendly defeat by Poland the following month, but - having forced himself into Rovers side on a sustained basis since making his international debut - Andrews has put himself firmly in the frame for a first start against Georgia.

That would represent another milestone on a fairytale route which has taken the Dubliner from Coca-Cola League Two football with MK Dons to the big stage in the space of less than a year.

Andrews said: "The last year, year-and-a-half has gone better than I could have imagined - starting off where I was and to get my move, and then the international chance came.

"I have managed to do okay in the time I have been with the Ireland team in terms of training and minutes on the pitch - so if I do get the chance, I will be over the moon.

"First and foremost, I am delighted to be involved in the squad. It's something I have always wanted throughout my career - and thankfully, the manager sees something in me he likes.

"I hope I can keep going and pushing it - and see where it brings me."

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Keith Andrews
Milton Keynes Dons
Blackburn Rovers
League One
Premier League
Andy Reid
Steven Reid
League Two
Darron Gibson
Glenn Whelan

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