The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

DERBY County skip­per Richard Keogh is aim­ing to lead the club back into the Pre­mier League to boost his hopes of play­ing a part in the plans of new Repub­lic of Ire­land man­ager Martin O’Neill.

Keogh has re­vealed that he has had talks with O’Neill as the for­mer As­ton Villa and Sun­der­land boss sets about shap­ing his squad for the start of qual­i­fy­ing for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships.

Keogh, 27, has not fig­ured for Ire­land since win­ning his sec­ond cap against Ge­or­gia last June, when he scored in a 4-0 win.

But with Steve McClaren’s Derby side chas­ing pro­mo­tion, he is bank­ing on get­ting into O’Neill’s squad.

He said:“My form has been good this sea­son. I’ve had a brief chat with Martin O’Neill and I’m ex­cited about be­ing back and get­ing ac­tively in­volved.

“Derby are do­ing well and when you are near the top of the league it gives you a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to play in the in­ter­na­tional side.

“So long as I am play­ing well for Derby hope­fully I can get back into the Ire­land team.

“It is an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge for the club.We want to be in­volved in the top of the ta­ble bat­tle.

“There are a lot of pos­i­tives about the team. Cur­rently we are un­beaten in five games so we are push­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“We are a side which scores a lot of goals so we al­ways give our­selves a real chance of win­ning matches.

“The new man­ager has come in at Derby and been re­ally good with us on the train­ing pitch.

“He has re­cruited some good play­ers.We now have a group of young, hun­gry play­ers who are will­ing to learn.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

UP AND AWAY: Derby’s Richard Keogh, cen­tre, hopes his club form will earn him a re­call to the Ire­land squad

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