Forde hopes to retain place

  • Last Updated: February 8 2013, 9:56 GMT

The 33-year-old Millwall goalkeeper was handed a rare start for his country in the 2-0 friendly victory over Poland on Wednesday evening, and manager Giovanni Trapattoni has indicated that he could keep his place for next month's qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.

Forde is hoping to retain his place in the Republic of Ireland team

Forde has got his chance because of number one Keiren Westwood's current lack of football at Sunderland, where he is under-study to Simon Mignolet, and while the two men are good friends, he is determined to grasp it.

He said: "I have been lucky - football is a lot about luck as well when you get a break. I managed to get a lucky break and Keiren has been unfortunate.

"I am good friends with Keiren off the pitch, so I am disappointed for him.

"But look, that's football and to be fair, he has supported me all the way and I would do the same for him.

"At the end of the day, it's great that the manager has put that trust in me, so I will take that as a compliment and a massive slap on the back.

"It's given me great confidence and belief that a manager like that has shown his faith in me, and I just hope now I can repay him and bring a level of consistency in performances from club level into the international set-up."

Forde recovered from an uncertain start, during which he scuffed a couple of clearances, to make a series of vital saves as the Poles dominated the opening half-hour.

However, the Republic took the lead against the run of play when central defender Ciaran Clark fired home 10 minutes before the break, and they grew in confidence to such an extent that by the time substitute Wes Hoolahan doubled their advantage 14 minutes from time, they were on top.

Aston Villa's Clark, who partnered skipper for the night John O'Shea at the back in the absence of the injured Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger and the rested Darren O'Dea, did himself no harm, but is taking nothing for granted as he looks forward to next month.

The 23-year-old said: "That's all I can do. I gave it my best shot and hopefully I will be there in the back of their minds."

Clark's goal was his second of the season - he scored for Villa in a 1-1 Premier League draw at Newcastle in September last year - but he revealed he does have previous.

He said: "When I was really young, I started off as a striker, so I don't know if that plays a part.

"I've just been getting into the positions and been lucky, I suppose, when the ball comes to you and falls to you nicely like it did."


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