Kelly back in Republic squad despite row with Trapattoni

Stephen Kelly

Stephen Kelly has been named in a provisional Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria despite his row with manager Giovanni Trapattoni last month.

The Reading defender had reacted angrily after Trapattoni questioned his commitment to the Irish cause.

Darron Gibson's self-imposed absence from the squad continues while Richard Dunne is unavailable because of injury.

Keith Andrews is also out injured but Marc Wilson and Seamus Coleman return.

Gibson pulled out of the Republic squad before the opening World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan because of his frustration at not getting any game time during Euro 2012 last summer.

Trapattoni said on Friday that he had attempted to coax the Everton midfielder back into the squad and that the door remained open to the Derry man.

"I was in touch with him and he said that he is still not ready," said the Republic boss.

"I saw him in the last (Everton) game and I told him that I was there but he said that he didn't want the controversy and he wanted to stay so I respect his decision."

Bolton midfielder Andrews had been set to return to action following a thigh injury but is now ruled out because of an Achilles strain.

Stoke defender Wilson is available after recovering from a broken leg while Coleman missed last month's friendly win over Poland because of a thigh strain.

Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick are included after impressing as substitutes in the 2-0 win over the Poles with Hendrick's Derby team-mate Conor Sammon also retained after earning his first cap in last month's game

LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane returns to the squad after being rested for the Poland game.

There are a number of talking points from the squad announcement but the biggest surprise is Kelly's inclusion despite his very public falling-out with Trapattoni last month.

A day after the Poland friendly Trapattoni said that the defender had indicated that he wouldn't make himself available unless given assurances that he would play.

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni says he will keep Darron Gibson in his thoughts despite the Everton player's continuing refusal to make himself available for international duty.

However, Kelly responded with a trenchant denial of Trapattoni's comments in a lengthy statement.

At Friday's team announcement, Trapattoni became irritated at attempts to delve further into the controversy as he repeated pointed out Kelly's inclusion in the squad.

"We spoke a lot about the situation. Now we are only concentrating on the next game."

However, the Reading player still looks to be some way down Trapattoni's defensive pecking order with Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark looking likely to start in central defence against the Swedes after impressing against Poland.

"We have confidence in Clark. I follow him a lot at the moment. I have a good reason to put him immediately in the team."

Trapattoni also spoke of his relief at Coleman's return to the squad, adding that the Donegal man had "played well" in the Everton game that he had recently attended.

The Republic boss added that his team's performance against Poland had been a boost for the vital World Cup qualifiers.

"With the same conviction, commitment and enthusiasm, we can achieve any result."

The Republic of Ireland are currently third in qualification Group C, behind Germany and Sweden, with Trapattoni's provisional squad for the games in Stockholm and Dublin to be cut down to 23 next week.

Republic of Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Westwood (Sunderland), Forde (Millwall), Randolph (Motherwell)

Defenders: O'Shea (Sunderland), St Ledger (Leicester), Clark (Aston Villa), Wilson (Stoke), Coleman (Everton), Kelly (Reading), O'Dea (Toronto), O'Brien (West Ham), McShane (Hull), Pearce (Reading), Ward (Wolves)

Midfielders: Whelan (Stoke), McCarthy (Wigan), Green (Leeds), Hendrick (Derby), McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Pilkington (Norwich), McClean (Sunderland), Brady (Hull)

Forwards: Keane (Los Angeles Galaxy), Long (West Brom), Doyle (Wolves), Sammon (Derby), Walters (Stoke), Cox (Nottingham Forest), Hoolahan (Norwich)

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