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Speed is good for Kenny who hints at Knight role against Grand Duchy


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Stephen Kenny says pace will be key as he looks to pick up his first win as Republic of Ireland manager against Luxembourg. 

Representatives of the Grand Duchy grace Lansdowne Road on Saturday night for the first time since 1987.

That last meeting of the countries was Ireland's final stop on the road to their first ever major finals appearance.

Whereas Kenny goes into the World Cup qualifier seeking a first win of his ten-match tenure.

Despite Wednesday's 3-2 defeat to Serbia, the manager has described the mood around the camp as "buoyant", adding, "The players are in really good spirits and anxious to do well.

"They seem quite relaxed, and I really feel we're in a much better place than we even were in November.

"Coming into that last Bulgaria game there'd been a lot of tension.

"They were very good against Serbia the other night, players are feeling very confident, and now they want to take that into the game against Luxembourg."

The manager believes Ireland are capable of winning once they realise their full potential, but has warned of a Luxembourg side that are no longer the whipping boys of European football.

Kenny pointed towards recent trouble caused to the likes of Ukraine, Portugal and Serbia by Luc Holz's outfit.

But he feels all the indicators for an upturn in Irish results are there, noting, "We played very very well [against Serbia] and completely differently than Irish teams would have in the last decade away from home, against good nations."

Aaron Connolly misses out on Saturday, having returned to Brighton Seafront to tend to a foot injury.

But Kenny's indicated there may be more than one change to the side that did battle in Belgrade, hinting at Jason Knight's possible inclusion.

The former Dundalk boss has done his homework on Luxembourg, envisioning an open game against an "expansive" side.

"We want to make sure," Kenny added, "That we move the ball quickly against Luxembourg, that there's a level of speed in our play - whether that's dribbling or passing the ball.

"We don't want a slow build-up, we want a level of speed in our play so we can attack.

"Luxembourg are quite an open team themselves. They've caused teams problems, but also the nature of the way they set up - in a lot of their games - the games are quite open."

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Aaron Connolly Ireland Jason Knight Luc Holz Luxembourg Republic Of Ireland Stephen Kenny World Cup Qualifiers

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