MANAGER Andy Ritchie will be watching closely when Town duo Richard Keogh and Michael Collins face their second screen test in three days tonight.
Centre-back Keogh is a starter and midfielder Collins on the bench for the Republic of Ireland’s European Under 21 Championship qualifier against England in Cork (8.00).
The game is being broadcast live by Sky Sports, who covered Town’s 2-0 League I loss at Doncaster on Sunday.
Bristol City loanee Keogh and Town Academy product Collins both figured at the Keepmoat, and Ritchie will be keeping a keen eye on the pair as he begins preparations for Saturday’s home derby against Oldham, where he played and then began his managerial career.
“I’ll be looking to see how they react to what was a poor all-round team display by us on Sunday, and hoping they avoid injuries,” explained Ritchie, who said no player can be confident of keeping their place for the Latics clash.
Collins and Keogh will be back with Town on Thursday, and Ritchie said this week’s training sessions will have a big bearing on his selection for Saturday.
The boss, whose side dropped a place to 16th after Luton beat Northampton 4-1 last night, added: “I want to see who shows a bit of character and responds in the proper way to what have been two poor performances (before Doncaster, Town lost 4-0 at Walsall).
“Both displays were unacceptable, especially because we had produced two much better performances at home to Luton (won 2-0) and Nottingham Forest (drew 1-1).”
Ritchie was today going through the footage of the Doncaster game with the players and pointed out: “There’s plenty to talk about and plenty of things we’ll be working on.”
Collins and Keogh will be aiming to help the Republic hit back after a 2-0 home defeat by Portugal in their only qualifier so far.
England top Group III after making it three wins from three with a 1-0 home victory over Montenegro on Friday, when the Republic, minus the Town duo, won 3-2 in Sweden in a warm-up friendly.
The 10 qualifying group winners and four best runners-up advance to the play-offs, where seven matches will decide which teams join hosts Sweden in the eight-team finals in June 2009.
Town Reserves host Morecambe in a Pontin’s League Cup group game tomorrow (7.00).