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Hughton's Irish diary

Posted on 31 May 2004  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Chris Hughton gives us the inside track on a busy early summer schedule for an Irish camp that includes our own Robbie Keane and Gary Doherty - it's mixed fortunes so far... <P>Coach Chris is Ireland's assistant manager and is helping prepare the squad for four friendlies in a little over&nbsp&#59;a week. <P>Ireland beat Romania in Dublin on Thursday thanks to a splendid strike from Matt Holland as Robbie Keane earned his 50th cap and&nbsp&#59;Roy Keane returned to the international fold. <P>But it wasn't good news as the Republic kicked-off their Unity Cup challenge&nbsp&#59;at Charlton as they slipped to a 3-0 defeat against Nigeria on Saturday. Both Robbie and Gary played in that game. <P><STRONG><EM>Here is what Chris had to say...</EM></STRONG> <P>THURSDAY was a good win against Romania. We've been lucky in that we've been able to play against good opposition in recent friendlies and Romania were no different. They were unbeaten in 11 games and I thought it was a good performance. Everyone was waiting for the return of Roy Keane, he got a tremendous reception and that really lifted the night. Robbie earned his 50th cap as well, incredible. I can't believe there have been that many players who have reached 50 caps by the age of 23, certainly with Ireland. It's a fantastic achievement. <P><IMG src="/media/images/decorative/photos/cpix/hughton1.jpg" align=left border=1 DESIGNTIMEURL="/photos/cpix/hughton1.jpg">WE LANDED back in London on Friday for the start of the Unity Cup on Saturday but I've got to say our preparation wasn't the best. Our flight was delayed for a couple of hours so we weren't able to have the normal preparation for a Saturday game. We had scheduled a training session for Friday evening but in the end literally took the players for a jog in a local park no to where we're staying in Bexley Heath. <P>NIGERIA were very powerful and a combination of a few things including the preparation and the fact we made a few changes from the Thursday meant it wasn't the best performance. Big Doc came in and did okay but&nbsp&#59;I've got to say we didn't have an outstanding player out there. They were strong and powerful and we couldn't match it and you have to look at the fact that we played two games before, travelled and the fact we made the changes. <P>WE HAD&nbsp&#59;a day off on Sunday, a wecome break really, but we train again today. We'll also train Tuesday, play Jamaica on Wednesday and then travel to Holland on Thursday for Saturday's friendly. The exercise has been good because we've been able to play lads who haven't been involved as much. That's been the bonus for us but at the same time we've a number of players missing, the likes of Steve Carr, Richard Dunne, Gary Breen, Ian Harte, John O'Shea, Damien Duff, Rory Delap - we're minus a few. So it's been good for us to see squad players and it's been a good opportunity for them to play. <P>I'M SURE JAMAICA will be a similar game on Wednesday although on paper the Nigerians are a better team. They play each other later today and I see Nigeria winning that game. Having said that, Jamaica will be fresher, so you never know. Anyway, we'll be preparing for Jamaica on Wednesday and trying to turn Saturday's result around. <P><B><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 20pt&#59; FONT-FAMILY: 'Monotype Corsiva'&#59; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">All the best, Chris<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN></B> <P>&nbsp&#59;