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Hughton's Irish diary

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).

In a special diary feature, our first team coach and Ireland's assistant boss Chris Hughton gives us the inside view into how the Republic prepare for crucial Euro 2004 qualifiers against Albania and Georgia.

Capped 53 times by Ireland, Chris is preparing the squad - including Stephen Carr and Robbie Keane - for crucial Euro 2004 qualifiers against Albania and Georgia.

He gave us the rundown of the early part of the week yesterday and now talks about what happened on Wednesday...

WE LEFT our base Carrickmacross at 9.30am on Wednesday and went straight into a match against our Under-21s at Tolka Park, one of the grounds here in Dublin.

It was a 90-minute game, competitive and we won the game 3-1 although I have to say the Under-21s did very well. They would probably look at it and think they were unfortunate not to get more out it result-wise. But we were grateful to them because they played Germany on Monday and now play Albania on Friday.

Stephen Kelly played in that game after being drafted into the Under-21s. He played against Germany on Monday, they drew 2-2 and played very well. That's the first time he's been called up and he'll stay in the squads for Friday and Tuesday.

We'll now start looking at the tactical side for Albania and bring the lads down a little. We've actually trained quite hard since Sunday and now is the time to step down on the training and concentrate on the game.

I'm off to watch Shelbourne against Waterford United at Tolka Park tonight and I think it's important to get to these Eircom League matches. For one, to see players but also to show an interest. From my point of view, the fact that I'm over here anyway in the position I am, it's an ideal opportunity to get out there and support the league. It's not as if I'm flying over, I'm here. So even though we're working, it's the chance to see a game and it's certainly worthwhile.

Tomorrow (Thursday) will be a normal day's training and then we'll take the players to the cinema tomorrow night. That's something that has been going since my playing days in the team, something to get the lads out of the hotel and get a bit of team spirit going. We all go together in the coach.

Just to report with my Spurs hat on, both Stephen Carr and Robbie Keane are in very good form, played half a game in the friendly against the Under-21s and look fine. I've always got that added concern about them because they are our lads but it's the same with all the team, you can't fault their attitude and application.