MX23RW : Tuesday, January 22 11:08:28

Preview: Republic of Ireland vs. Latvia

Sports Mole looks ahead to Friday night's friendly between the Republic of Ireland and Latvia.

Ordinarily, a friendly encounter between the Republic of Ireland and Latvia would not have attracted too much attention.

This fixture on Friday evening, though, will mark the start of the Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane era at the Irish helm.

With no qualification points at stake, the new management duo have been tipped to experiment with the team for the visit of the Latvians.

The hosts will be without Hull City winger Robbie Brady and Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark because of injuries, while Anthony Pilkington has also been rated as doubtful with a dead leg.

Meanwhile, Latvia, who are managed by former Southampton striker Marian Pahars, are likely to be captained by Reading centre-back Kaspars Gorkss.

These two nations have met on four previous occasions, all of which have ended in Ireland victories. Their last clash was back in 1995 when a brace from John Aldridge sealed a 2-1 win.

Recent form

ROI: LDLLLW

Latvia: LDWLLD

Possible starting lineups

ROI: Forde; Coleman, O'Shea, Pearce, Ward; McGeady, McCarthy, Green, Reid; Walters, Keane

Latvia: Kolinko; Gorkss, Bulvitis, Rode, Maksimenko; Laizans, Lazdins, Fertovs, Kovalovs, Sabala; Visnakovs

Sports Mole says: 2-0

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New announced Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane speak during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 5, 2013
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