Republic of Ireland: Martin O'Neill reduces squad for Nations League games

Jonathan Walters and Harry Arter
Striker Jon Walters (left) is missing through injury but Harry Arter (right) has returned to the Republic squad

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has trimmed his squad down to 26 players before their Nations League double-header with Denmark and Wales.

Midfielder Richie Towell is among six players to drop out having been named on the initial 32-man panel.

Greg Cunningham, Ronan Curtis, Graham Burke, Daryl Horgan and Alan Judge have also been left out.

The Republic play host to Denmark on 13 October before facing Wales in Dublin three days later.

Former League of Ireland Player of the Year Towell has enjoyed a positive start to the season with Rotherham United but will have to wait to make his senior team debut having been called up for the first time last week.

Striker Curtis has also impressed since making a summer move to Portsmouth from Derry City and will link-up with the under-21 squad for their upcoming European qualifiers against Israel and Germany.

Shane Long did not train with the Republic squad in Dublin on Tuesday but manager Martin O'Neill said that the Southampton striker expects to be available for Saturday's game.

Rice remains absent

West Ham's Declan Rice remains absent from the squad having missed the Republic's games against Wales and Poland last month.

The London-born 19-year-old player is considering his international future as he contemplates a switch to play for England.

Cardiff City midfielder Harry Arter has been included in the 32-man provisional squad after he was involved in a row with assistant manager Roy Keane.

O'Neill remains optimistic that Rice will commit to the Republic after revealing that he has remained in contact with the player, while also revealing that Arter has returned to the panel after clear the air talks with Keane.

"I've spoken to Declan and his family and they want a little bit more time to make his mind up. He hasn't made a decision yet. I am hopeful," said O'Neill.

"Roy and Harry have had a chat and sorted it all out. Harry is happy to be back and wants to put it behind him.

"He is happy with the outcome and looking forward to coming in."

Injury rules out captain Coleman

Team captain Seamus Coleman will miss this month's double header with a foot injury while Ipswich striker Jonathan Walters (Achilles) and Burnley's Robbie Brady and Stephen Ward (both knee injuries) have also been ruled out.

O'Neill has been able to recall Stoke winger James McClean, who missed the Republic's opening Nations League defeat by Wales in Cardiff because of a wrist injury, while there are also recalls for strikers Long, Seanie Maguire and Scott Hogan.

James McCarthy has been overlooked after only recently returning to training following the double leg break he suffered last January.

The Republic's heavy 4-1 loss in Cardiff has left them at the foot of Group B4 and this month's back to back matches will be crucial if they are to mount a challenge for automatic qualification for the 2020 European Championships.

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Colin Doyle (Hearts), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Kevin Long (Burnley), John Egan, Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan, Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers)

Midfielders: Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Shaun Williams (Millwall), David Meyler (Reading), Harry Arter (Bournemouth, on loan at Cardiff City), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke City)

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Callum Robinson, Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Aiden O'Brien (Millwall), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa)