Large Rus­sian con­voy ready to make its way from North East clubs

Sunday Sun - - Football -

SAM BROTHERTON Sun­der­land and New Zealand

The cen­tre-back doesn’t even have a squad num­ber but is likely to fea­ture in next month’s play-off against the fifth-placed South Amer­i­can side.

CYRUS CHRISTIE Mid­dles­brough and Ire­land

An im­por­tant part of the Repub­lic of Ire­land team, but they have it all to do in Cardiff to­mor­row just to make the play-offs.

CIARAN CLARK New­cas­tle United and Ire­land

See Christie.

PAUL DUMMETT New­cas­tle United and Wales

Dummett failed to make the cut for Euro 2016 and if Wales qual­ify for the World Cup, he will need a good sea­son when he re­turns from a ham­string in­jury.

ROB EL­LIOT New­cas­tle United and Ire­land

The Mag­pies’ fail­ure to sign the goal­keeper they wanted this sum­mer has given Rob El­liot a Pre­mier League plat­form to stake his claim. The prob­lem is, it is likely to be down to oth­ers to get Ire­land to Rus­sia. Eng­land are def­i­nitely go­ing to Rus­sia, but Gib­son is prob­a­bly not. Gareth South­gate is a fan of the cen­tre-back, who caught the eye in last sea­son’s Pre­mier League but will strug­gle to force his way in from the Cham­pi­onship.

LYNDEN GOOCH Sun­der­land and USA

Not part of the na­tional set-up but made his de­but last sea­son, so if he can get a run of goals and games in the Cham­pi­onship he could stand a chance but it seems un­likely. Kone’s chances of be­ing in Rus­sia have nose­dived since late Au­gust. He has not played in the Ivory Coast’s last three games and their 0-0 draw with Mali could leave them strug­gling to qual­ify. Only a stand-by for this week’s games. He is start­ing to es­tab­lish him­self in Sun­der­land’s first team but a lot of ifs stand in his way. If Ser­bia can fin­ish the job by top­ping Group D to­mor­row, Mitro­vic can start mak­ing plans for Rus­sia. Gabon qual­i­fy­ing is only half the bat­tle for the mid­fielder, who is a con­tro­ver­sial and un­pop­u­lar in the Pan­thers’ squad. De­layed re­tire­ment in the hope of one last ma­jor tour­na­ment but he has watched Ire­land’s last three games from the bench.

BRYAN OVIEDO Sun­der­land and Costa Rica

Costa Rica went into last night’s game in Panama need­ing only a point.

DAR­REN RAN­DOLPH Mid­dles­brough and Ire­land

If Ire­land qual­ify, a fit Ran­dolph will go. If.

MATT RITCHIE New­cas­tle United and Scotland

Scotland have given them­selves a chance but Rus­sia is still a long way off. Hav­ing won the last of his six caps two years ago, Shelvey is a real long shot. Eng­land is cry­ing out for cre­ativ­ity but his tem­per­a­ment is sus­pect. Wil­liams will have a happy birth­day if Wales can clinch a play-off spot and hap­pier still if they win the group. Has a good chance of be­ing a squad mem­ber in Rus­sia. Noth­ing is signed and sealed yet but Yedlin is a key player.

WITH World Cup qual­i­fy­ing com­ing to an end, a host of North East-based play­ers are still in with a chance of play­ing in foot­ball’s great­est tour­na­ment in Rus­sia next sum­mer.

Even if they stay fit, few if any New­cas­tle United, Mid­dles­bor­ough or Sun­der­land play­ers can take their places for granted. For some, it will be about get­ting enough min­utes on the pitch to jus­tify their se­lec­tion, while the Cham­pi­onship play­ers will be hop­ing that play­ing in English foot­ball’s sec­ond tier does not count against them.

Here we take a look at the lead­ing can­di­dates who might have a chance – some more so than oth­ers – of be­ing in­volved.

CHRIS­TIAN ATSU New­cas­tle United and Ghana Ghana’s 0-0 draw in Uganda yes­ter­day has left them need­ing a lot of things to go there way if they are to make it.

MARTIN BRAITH­WAITE Mid­dles­brough and Den­mark The Danes could still win their group but with only one start and one sub­sti­tute ap­pear­ance, Boro’s £10m striker will need a few goals this sea­son. LAMINE KONE Sun­der­land and Ivory Coast ADAM MATTHEWS Sun­der­land and Wales AI­DEN McGEADY Sun­der­land and Ire­land Hard to see him not be­ing in the squad if Ire­land qual­ify.

PADDY McNAIR Sun­der­land and North­ern Ire­land McNair’s re­turn from cru­ci­ate knee lig­a­ment dam­age is likely to come too late for him to fea­ture in the play-offs but if North­ern Ire­land can reach the World Cup with­out him, he has a good chance of a call-up.

ALEKSANDARA MITRO­VIC New­cas­tle United and Ser­bia f to M fo DI­DIER NDONG Sun­der­land and Gabon t JOHN O’SHEA Sun­der­land and Ire­land

BEN GIB­SON Mid­dles­brough and Eng­land JONJO SHELVEY New­cas­tle United and Eng­land JONNY WIL­LIAMS Sun­der­land and Wales Matt Ritchie DEAN­DRE YEDLIN New­cas­tle United and USA

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