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In Focus: Ferguson KO hands Ireland strikers a chance to impress
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Dan Fitch
Evan Ferguson picked up a knee injury against Newcastle
Evan Ferguson picked up a knee injury against Newcastle

The Republic of Ireland will have to cope without the talents of Evan Ferguson for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against France and the Netherlands. 

The prolific teenager picked up a knee injury in Brighton's 3-1 victory over Newcastle over the weekend after bagging an impressive hat-trick. 

In the Boys in Green's last outing, the 18-year-old was on the scoresheet in a 3-0 win over Gibraltar after being paired up front with Burnley's Michael Obafemi, who is also unfit. 

Ahead of tonight's Group B clash with France, we take a look at the contenders to replace Ferguson in the Irish attack. 

Aaron Connolly

Aaron Connolly was once the bright, young Irish striker prospect at Brighton but he signed for Hull over the summer after a series of loans. 

The 23-year-old had a temporary spell with the Tigers last season and despite being injured for most of that stay, he did enough to persuade Liam Rosenior to make the move permanent. 

Still finding his fitness, Connolly started his first Championship game of the season in the 1-0 win over Leicester last weekend. 

He has found the net three times in six appearances across all competitions. The 5ft 9in forward is a man in form but has yet to score in eight games for his country. 

Will Keane

Will Keane has been in fine form for Preston
Will Keane has been in fine form for Preston

Another in-form Championship striker is Preston's Will Keane. 

The 30-year-old has scored four times in six games for his new club, which includes a brace in the 2-0 win over Stoke in his last outing. 

He signed from Wigan in the summer after notching 50 goals in 128 matches for the Latics, which saw the former Manchester United player win his first of four international caps in 2021. 

Keane switched allegiance to Ireland after representing England at youth level. His brother Michael, who plays for Everton, made the reverse move by swapping the Boys in Green for the Three Lions. 

Adam Idah

Another possibility from the Championship is the Norwich forward Idah, who has been involved with the Republic more recently than either Connolly or Keane. 

Born in Cork, the 6ft 3in youngster won his 16th cap in the recent qualifying win against Gibraltar, scoring his first international goal with a header after replacing Ferguson as a late substitute. 

Yet while Idah is off the mark for his country, the 22-year-old has still to convince that he can be a regular scorer at club level with just 12 strikes to show from his 88 appearances for Norwich. 

Promisingly, two of those efforts have come from five Championship appearances this season. 

Chiedozie Ogbene

Chiedozie Ogbene has scored four times for the Republic of Ireland
Chiedozie Ogbene has scored four times for the Republic of Ireland

The only option to replace Ferguson who is currently playing in the Premier League is Luton's Ogbene. 

Though principally a right-winger, the 26-year-old has played centrally under Kenny in the past. 

Of all the contenders, it is Ogbene who has the most pedigree when it comes to scoring at this level, with four strikes in 15 caps. 

He has yet to find the net in four games for Luton following his summer move from Rotherham, where he impressed with eight goals in the Championship last season.


IrelandEvan FergusonAaron-Anthony ConnollyWilliam KeaneAdam Uche IdahChiedozie Ogbene
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