Semi-final heroes at Euro 2016 in France last summer, Chris Coleman’s Welsh side are yet to taste defeat in their bid to reach the 2018 showpiece tournament in Russia.
They’ve played four qualifying games to date, but three of those have been draws, leaving them languishing in third in Group D.
Conversely, Ireland top the pile with 10 points and left-sided defender Ben is under no illusions about the magnitude of Friday’s fixture.
“It’s a massive game, one that’s really important,” said the 23-year-old, who normally operates on the left side of a back three for Wales. “Maybe it’s not quite must-win yet but it’s definitely getting close to that.
“Both nations are doing well so far in the group and it’s a match we really would like to pick up three points in. After the success we had in the summer it’s all about progressing from that now and trying not to be a one-tournament team.
“We know how tough it’s going to be, we’ve got a tough group but it’s in our hands really – if we start picking up results then we should be close to qualifying.”
Asked if the geographical proximity of Wales to Ireland will come into play on Friday, Ben replied: “We know they’re going to be a good side. We’ve seen they’ve picked up some good results along the way and they’re going to make it hard for us, but really it’s about focusing on us and just doing the best we can.
“I’m sure it will be huge for the fans and we’re all looking forward to it.”