Martin O’Neil

Rep of Ireland v Turkey – Betting Preview & Odds

Ciaran Bonass previews the team news, stats, odds and reveals his best bets for Sunday’s international friendly, Republic of Ireland v Turkey.

In the three games since he took charge Martin O’Neill has overseen a quite indifferent run of results with a comfortable 3-0 win over Latvia followed by a forgettable scoreless draw in Poland and a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Serbia. Those results still compare favourably with the end of Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign which saw Ireland finish fourth in their World Cup qualifying after winning just four of their ten group games in a dismal conclusion to Italian’s time in charge of the Irish team.

The former Celtic and Aston Villa boss will be aiming for a strong showing from his charges over a run of fixtures that sees his international charges face four games in little over two weeks.

Turkey have now won seven of their last eight games, including three of their last four World Cup Qualifiers. Their late surge for Brazil was too little too late for Fatih Terim’s side as a dismal start to their attempts to reach next month’s showpiece event gave them a mountain too steep to climb as they finished behind Hungary, Romania and runaway group winners Holland. Terim’s men crushed international newcomers Kosovo 6-1 in their last outing on Wednesday night.

Team News
A host of first team regulars are unavailable to O’Neill at the weekend for a variety of reasons. Record goalscorer Robbie Keane will remain available to his club LA Galaxy until the Irish team jets off to America for friendlies against Costa Rica and Portugal.

Midfielder James McCarthy, goalkeeper Darren Randolph and defender Joey O’Brien are all out through injury or a lack of fitness. QPR pair Kevin Doyle and Richard Dunne along with the the Derby trio of Jeff Hendrick, Richard Keogh and Connor Sammon are all missing as a result of the Championship playoff final, when at least two of the quartet will be have to missed out on promotion.

Turkey will be without influential midfielder Arda Turan, although it’s fair to say the Atletico Madrid midfielder may not be thinking too much of international football as he prepares for the biggest club game of his career when the La Liga champions take on city rivals Real in the Champions League final the previous night.

Head to Head
It’s over ten years since these sides met, when they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Dublin as a late Richard Dunne goal saved the home side from defeat. Turkey have only actually beaten Ireland once in the 12 meetings between the teams over the years – back in 1967 – but still managed to knock the Boys in Green out in a playoff for Euro 2000 over two legs as they held out for a scoreless draw in Istanbul to progress on away goals win after drawing 1-1 in the Irish capital.

Recommended Bets
It may be tempting to take the home side at eye-catching odds 6/4 in the match betting market given their fine record in this fixture but I wouldn’t be quick to lump on them against a hugely capable outfit in excellent form. The Turks will have their backers at 9/5 against a depleted Irish team too but it’s not a market that interests for the most part.

Ireland have scored in all of their last eight home games but routinely fail to contain teams of any real class so 10/11 on both teams scoring stands out here, while Shane Long can further his claim to be O’Neill’s first-choice centre forward with a third goal in four appearances at fine odds of 6/4.