Trap puts trust in Hunt

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Giovanni Trapattoni will place his trust in Stephen Hunt as the Republic of Ireland launch their World Cup qualifying campaign against Georgia.

The 27-year-old Reading midfielder will replace the injured Damien Duff for the game at the Bruchweg Stadium in Mainz on Saturday in what will be just his second competitive start for his country.

Trapattoni admits Duff will be a miss as he recovers from a knee injury, but is confident Hunt will do a job for him against the Georgians, saying: "He is a young player with 100% enthusiasm. He helps all his colleagues on the pitch. He understands that he can track back or play in front."

He added: "For us, that is important. There are other players like Duff, but we have enough offensive players like (Aiden) McGeady, (Robbie) Keane, (Kevin) Doyle and also Duff who can score a goal."

Hunt linked up with the Irish squad on Tuesday, having seen his hopes of a move back to the Barclays Premier League scuppered as the transfer window closed.

The winger admitted his disappointment at the collapse of a transfer late on Monday night, although Reading insist they received no offer from Everton for him.

However, Trapattoni insists he must put that all behind him and like the rest of his team-mates, focus only on the start of a 10-match campaign which will determine their participation in South Africa in 2010.

The manager said: "We have to forget what happens in the private situation. Now we can only think about our situation, the national situation. We can only think about our qualification, about the team and the games with Ireland.

"We must be proud to play with Ireland. We played enough good games against Serbia, Colombia and Norway and we have enough quality - our quality - to look to qualify for South Africa."

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Stephen Hunt
Damien Duff
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