The Republic lie second in Group 10, three points ahead of their opponents who do have a game in hand.
"We play Russia on Saturday which is obviously the most important game for us - a qualification game and we have done well to put ourselves back in the frame," reasoned Chris, assistant to manager Brian Kerr. "It is a massively important game for us.
"They beat us and beat us well - 4-2 in Russia. Most of their games have been fairly tight and there have been a few changes, including the manager, but they are very much a formidable outfit and it won't be an easy game.
"We then play Turkey in Ireland on Tuesday. I suppose it is a testament to where we are as a football nation that we are playing such a top quality friendly game."
So are Turkey using the fixture as something of a dress rehearsal for the forthcoming game against England?
"Very much so, although I would say we don't play the same way as England. It is a Premiership-based game and I think that is why they want to play us."
Chris Hughton describes Ireland's Euro 2004 qualifier against Russia today as 'massively important'.