Ukraine v Republic of Ireland
Tuesday June 14, 19:45
Live On RTE/Premier Sports
Irish spirits lifted
The mood music around Stephen Kenny's Republic of Ireland has been dramatically changed by their comprehensive defeat of Steve Clarke's Scotland in Dublin on Saturday.
Trends and stats went out the window as the Irish enjoyed a first ever Nations League win at the 13th attempt.
In scoring three goals, they exceeded their tally in the previous 12 fixtures combined and also delivered a first Dublin win over a higher ranked opponent in a competitive encounter since November 2015.
It came at just the right time for Kenny after deeply disappointing losses away to Armenia and at home to a weakened Ukraine.
Despite signing a new contract earlier this year, speculation about his future was beginning to rise above a whisper and the prospect of travelling to Lodz for a return meeting with a stronger Ukraine team without a point on the board was a daunting one.
Instead of travelling with that stifling pressure, Ireland have arrived in the neutral Polish venue in good spirits.
They still need a positive result if their hopes of winning their group are to remain alive, but it's not do or die stuff for the boss
That's just as well as three games in a week have taken their toll.
Weakened defensive hand
Defensive fixture Shane Duffy is suspended after picking up a second booking of the campaign on Saturday.
Seamus Coleman missed that game, while John Egan was passed fit late in the day but is a major doubt for this encounter.
Defender Darragh Lenihan is on standby for a first competitive outing for his country and while Duffy can struggle with aspects of a central berth in the back three, he's a major leadership figure.
Michael Obafemi's superb goal and assist opened up the Scots, yet the Swansea player is struggling with a groin issue.
It means that Ireland will be entering proceedings with a patched up team, whereas Ukraine - who prevailed in Dublin despite making ten changes from their first XI - will be close to full strength.
They followed that up by scoring three against Armenia, albeit after huffing and puffing for an hour.
Ukraine boss Oleksandr Petrakov has a strong focused squad and has been able to rotate options after a team featuring seven competitive debutants triumphed at the Aviva Stadium.
After a lengthy training camp, they are sharper than other international teams and they will have a significant number of displaced fellow countrymen and countrywomen backing them here.
In that context, it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the market has overreacted to an Irish return to form, especially given the challenge they will face to reproduce it in 72 hours against a stronger opponent which will be well prepared.
The 1.8810/11 about a 'home' win is the straightforward recommendation.
Goals at either end
The other recommendation here is for both teams to get on the scoresheet. Ireland will be fielding an all new rearguard as mentioned above, but they have a decent scoring record on their travels under Kenny having hit the target in all of their away qualifiers in their ill-fated World Cup campaign and that included fixtures with Portugal and Serbia.
They failed to score in Yerevan when they had all of the ball, but are happier counter punching a team that can commit bodies although Ukraine operated an efficient shape in Dublin. Still, they can be got at and the 2.1211/10 about both sides registering is appealing.