Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane is backing Stephen Hunt to plug the sizeable gap left by Damien Duff against Bulgaria on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Reading midfielder will deputise for his injured Newcastle counterpart in the World Cup qualifier at Croke Park, desperate to build upon the impression he made against Georgia and Montenegro earlier in the campaign.
Keane said: "It's obviously a massive blow to us [losing Duff]. He has been fantastic over the years and especially in this campaign, and it's a big blow to us because he is a very important player. Stephen Hunt will come in and I am sure he will give it his all like he always does.
"But it gives someone else an opportunity now to play and to do well for the team.
"It's disappointing, but it gives someone else an opportunity."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms