Matt Doherty could be set for a more forward role with Ireland under his old Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy.
The long-serving Molineux stalwart has impressed hugely at right wing back this season and McCarthy, who is preparing for his first games since returning to the Irish hotseat, recently said Doherty was the best in that position in the Premier League.
Doherty, 27, has struggled for games at international level because previous boss Martin O’Neill preferred Seamus Coleman at right back and the Everton man is also the captain, while he also picked Cyrus Christie ahead of the Wolves defender.
Injuries to Callum O’Dowda and Alan Browne have forced McCarthy to look at other options on the right side of midfield for the UEFA European Championship qualifiers away to Gibraltar on Saturday and at home to Georgia on Tuesday, and he believes Doherty could fit the bill.
“Matt Doherty could play there,” said the former Wolves boss. “The ‘Doc’ comes into consideration, I think, for that position.
“Robbie Brady could play there but he’s not been playing many minutes, only 12 minutes at the weekend, and the week before it was a similar amount.”
If McCarthy does push Doherty forward, it won’t the first time he has played a regular Wolves right back at right midfield.
When Wolves returned to the Premier League in 2009, he often deployed Kevin Foley in that position, to protect the right back, when Greg Halford then later Ronald Zubar played in that position.
Doherty has been restricted to just five full caps since making his international debut on March 23 last year in a 1-0 defeat to Turkey, coming on as a substitute for Coleman.
Ireland also have a potential headache at left back, and Doherty won player of the season at Wolves in that position under Kenny Jackett in 2015-16.
McCarthy hinted he won’t be playing Brady in that role, however.
“I think he could fill in there for me but I don’t see him as a left-back, no,” he said.
“I see him on either side, left or right to be honest. I spoke to him yesterday about his fitness and he just said he had been quite a long time getting back.
“But he says he is as fit as he has been in a long time at the moment but just can’t get in the team.
“That’s up to Dychey, ask Sean whether he wants to put him in the team. He’s fit, though. He is fit and he is OK.”
Ireland should win handsomely in Gibraltar but McCarthy warned against them filling their boots.
“I’m not getting wrapped up in getting a glut of goals because they will make it very, very difficult,” he said.
“I think playing well (is important) but it’s really important that we win.
“My remit surely with eight qualifying games is to win as many points as I can. And nobody has ever complained when we’re winning.
“So if we can play well and win it would be better, but I’ll settle for winning.”