Darron Gibson returns to Republic of Ireland squad

Darron Gibson of the Republic of Ireland
Darron Gibson has not played a competitive match since March

Darron Gibson is in a provisional 40-man squad for the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifying showdowns with Germany and Poland.

The 27-year-old Everton midfielder has yet to play this season after damaging a knee in a pre-season friendly against Real Betis in August.

The Republic host Group D leaders Germany on 8 October and finish the campaign in Warsaw three days later.

Those fixtures will decide the fate of Ireland's qualification hopes.

Victories over Gibraltar and Georgia earlier this month left them in third place, four points ahead of Scotland and with a chance of claiming at least a play-off berth.

Gibson has returned to the international fold following a self-imposed exile after falling out with previous manager Giovanni Trapattoni and his most recent appearance for his country came when he started the 1-0 defeat by the Scots in Glasgow last November.

He hit the headlines for the wrong reasons last month when he was banned from driving for 20 months and fined after pleading guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol, driving without due care and attention and failing to stop after an accident had occurred following an incident in which his car ploughed into three cyclists.

Elsewhere in the squad, there are places for uncapped trio Alan Judge, Eunan O'Kane and Adam Rooney as well as Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, who missed out last time around through injury.

The squad will be reduced before the players meet up in Dublin on 4 October.

Victory in either match would secure a top-three finish.

Republic of Ireland squad - Goalkeepers: D Forde (Millwall), S Given (Stoke), K Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), D Randolph (West Ham), R Elliot (Newcastle).

Defenders: R Keogh (Derby), M Wilson (Stoke), S Coleman (Everton), C Christie (Derby), J O'Shea (Sunderland), A Pearce (Derby), S Duffy (Blackburn), C Clark (Aston Villa), P McShane (Reading), S Ward (Burnley), G Cunningham (Preston).

Midfielders: R Brady (Norwich), J McCarthy (Everton), J Hendrick (Derby), D Gibson (Everton), H Arter, E O'Kane (both Bournemouth), G Whelan (Stoke), P Green (Rotherham), A McGeady (Everton), J McClean (West Brom), A Judge (Brentford), A Pilkington (Cardiff), S Quinn (Reading), D Meyler (Hull).

Strikers: J Walters (Stoke), W Hoolahan (Norwich), R Keane (LA Galaxy), S Long (Southampton), D Murphy (Ipswich), K Doyle (Colorado Rapids), A Stokes (Celtic), D McGoldrick (Ipswich), ARooney (Aberdeen), S Cox (Reading).