Analysis: Republic of Ireland width can topple Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Republic of Ireland must draw on the experience of their win over Germany - Alexander Hassenstein / Bongarts

On Friday, Martin O'Neill aims to complete the Republic of Ireland's journey out of the footballing wilderness and into their first major tournament since 2002. Over the coming days it is the who played competitively for and is born-and-bred Northern Irish, who could be the man to lead their Southern Irish neighbours back to the big time.

To so do however, they will have to best a Bosnia & Herzegovina side, who themselves have only recently announced themselves on the international stage, arguably during the last World Cup in Brazil.

Republic can overcome Bosnian depth

As a combined unit, The Dragons have a stronger squad, particularly in the attacking areas. The exploits of former Manchester City man Edin Dzeko need no introduction. Hertha Berlin's Vedad Ibisevic has 25 goals for his country and they also have AS Roma's midfield magician Miralem Pjanic in their ranks, so the Irish defence should not be expecting a simple task.

The Bosnians may have the stronger squad, but the The Boys in Green themselves have plenty of pace and trickery, particularly in the wide areas. If O'Neill can harness this, Ireland have the firepower to topple Safet Susic's men.

Full back areas key

If we are looking at said wide areas, the key men all have English football links. Everton duo Seamus Coleman and Aidan McGeady have struck up an accord on international duty, that has so far evaded them at club level - mainly due to McGeady's injury problems and lack of form.

The fate of the Republic's fortunes could lie, however, on the opposite flank. Norwich City's Robbie Brady has become a versatile left-sided player. Originally a left-winger for Hull City, since moving to Carrow Road, the Irish international has often been deployed in a wing-back berth, or as part of a back four system.

Brady role could decide tie

Martin O'Neill has to decide whether to deploy Brady at left-back, or further up the field. If the former Aston Villa, Sunderland and Leicester City boss elects to do so, it means playing Stephen Ward in that defensive role.

Hull City's Robbie Brady could be vital for the Republic of Ireland against Bosnia and Herzegovina
Robbie Brady could be vital in determining the direction in which the tie will go - via mirror.co.uk

With Derby County's breakthrough left-winger Jeff Hendrick available however, Brady should slot into the left defensive role, linking up with Hendrick in attack.

Hendrick announced himself to the Irish faithful with his pace and skill in setting up Jonathan Walters for Ireland's vital goal at the Aviva Stadium against Georgia back in September.

After the two combined to frustrate Germany in their famous win last month - including keeping out Thomas Muller to a large extent - their task will be to control and take on Bosnian right-back Mensur Mujdza.

After seeing England, Wales and their Irish neighbours qualify for the European Championships across the channel next summer and after stuttering in their qualifying campaign, Ireland now have the chance to rectify their foibles, but to do so they will have to overcome opponents who are twenty-two places above them in the FIFA rankings.

However, given their remarkable victory versus the world champions, the Republic of Ireland are more than capable of doing so - a feat which would likely see Martin O'Neill heralded as the saviour of Irish football.

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