Bruce eyes Irish chance
Ipswich star hoping to impress
Last Updated: May 19, 2008 4:44pm
Bruce: Irish hope
Alex Bruce is hoping he can become a firm fixture in the plans of boss Giovanni Trapattoni.
The Ipswich defender earned praise from the Italian after performing well in Ireland's warm-up game with Portuguese club side Portimonese.
With Richard Dunne not joining up with the squad until their return to Dublin on Thursday and Manchester United's John O'Shea currently preparing for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League final, Bruce knows he has a chance to make his mark on Trapattoni ahead of the forthcoming friendly clashes with Serbia and Colombia.
"It's a good opportunity for myself and Paul [McShane] with Richard Dunne not here and John O'Shea away on Champions League duty," he said.
"Hopefully we can show the new manager what we can do. When you do well, it's always a big opportunity, no matter what game you are in and whoever the opposition is.
"We have just got to see some good bits from each player and hopefully he will give us a chance in the bigger games coming up."
Ireland recovered from a shaky start against Liga Vitalis side Portimonese to ensure their new manager's reign did not begin with a defeat.
Dean Kiely, returning to international football after five years, was beaten within 16 minutes when striker Gonzalo thumped a low drive past him.
However, substitute Andy Keogh - the first of seven second-half replacements - equalised within four minutes of his arrival and debutant Sean Scannell was denied an injury-time winner by keeper Michael and then defender Andre.
Ireland will face Lagos at the Estadio Municipal this evening when Trapattoni will make changes - he used seven substitutes in Portimao and only Kevin Foley and Owen Garvan of the 20-strong squad remained on the bench.
But whatever else he will look to change over the coming months and years, Trapattoni is keen that his players retain their intensity on the pitch. He said: "I don't want to change their mentality. I like their mentality.
"It is important that they have a good mentality, a good approach and that they are aggressive in a way."