Kilbane expects response
Ireland winger confident qualification can be secured
Last Updated: October 12, 2010 1:03pm
Kevin Kilbane is confident the Republic of Ireland will respond positively to Friday's setback against Russia.
A 3-2 defeat on home soil last week ended Ireland's 100 per cent start to Euro 2012 qualification.
While disappointed to slip-up, a surprise defeat for Slovakia in Armenia means Group B remains intriguingly poised.
With three teams locked together on six points, Ireland remain well-placed to mount a push for a place at a first major tournament since 2002.
Kilbane admits the Irish rarely help themselves when it comes to qualification campaigns, but the Hull City winger is convinced they have what it takes to make the grade this time around.
"Everything was there for us, we had heard the Slovakia result, and knew that a win would set us right up and put us a long way towards qualification," he told Sky Sports News on the Russia defeat.
"But we have never made it easy for ourselves in any campaign and this time we have got ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but we are certainly capable of getting out of it because we have quality players."
Ireland came agonisingly close to reaching the 2010 World Cup, only to be denied by Thierry Henry's infamous handball during a play-off encounter with France in Paris.
While it took some time to get that disappointment out of their system, Kilbane believes the experiences of the recent past stand Giovanni Trapattoni's side in good stead heading forward.
"Through the last one, we were looking to build because we'd had so many previous campaigns go so badly for us," he said.
"The last one went very well for us, we remained unbeaten throughout, but we didn't pick up enough wins and that's what went against us in the end.
"We are still building and we know we have a lot to improve on but we feel we are on the right track."
Kilbane has also played down fears that Ireland will struggle to remain competitive while key men such as Robbie Keane and Shay Given remain out of favour at club level.
He added: "If you have been out of your club side for a couple of weeks, or whatever it is, you know that you have to do a little bit extra in training.
"It isn't the same as playing a competitive game, don't get me wrong, but you know how to prepare. We have played enough football to know how to get ourselves right for a big game."