Rob Elliot will tonight get his chance to cement his place in the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad.
The goalkeeper has been Newcastle United’s player of the season so far.
With (Euro 2016) and the league to contend with, the next few months is probably one of the most important of my career.Rob Elliot
Elliot came into the side in October when No 1 Tim Krul suffered a season-ending injury.
The 29-year-old has been superb during Krul’s enforced absence.
And had it not been for his heroics, relegation-threatened Newcastle would be in an even worse predicament going into the final eight games of the Premier League season.
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill fielded West Ham United’s Darren Randolph in Friday’s 1-0 win over Switzerland.
O’Neill will take a look at Elliot, capped three times by Ireland, in tonight’s game against Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“It’s a huge honour to play for Ireland,” said Elliot, whose last cap came in September 2014.
“I go away and enjoy myself with the Irish boys and gain more experience which I look to take into my performances at Newcastle.
“The Euros are massive (for Ireland) and for the fans.
“We’re going there as underdogs, which suits us because it means we can go there and play without pressure and hopefully do the country proud.
“With (Euro 2016) and the league to contend with, the next few months is probably one of the most important of my career.
“I just need make sure I’m as focused and prepared as possible to make sure the season ends on a high and doesn’t end up going to waste.”
O’Neill could also take former Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given to Euro 2016.
The 39-year-old – who could be recalled to Stoke City’s starting XI after Jack Butland was ruled out for the season by an ankle problem suffered on England duty – has recovered from a recent knee injury and O’Neill plans to speak to him this week.
O’Neill said: “(Stoke’s) Jon Walters was just filling us in and saying he felt he was just getting back to really full training now, so if this is a spur to him now to feel as if he has got a chance, well done.
“But I will get an opportunity now to speak to him in next 24 hours.”