Republic of Ireland assistant boss Marco Tardelli is hopeful of Shay Given being fit for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Bulgaria next week.

Manchester City goalkeeper Given has been struggling with a hip injury and will miss Friday's friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage but he has taken part in light training. "Shay Given is well compared to how he was on Tuesday," Tardelli said. "Maybe he will be fit for the Bulgaria match and if he is he will start."

Kevin Doyle will miss both games with a calf strain and fellow striker Caleb Folan has had a scan on his knee but is expected to return to the next week after the Nigeria match. "We are watching his situation," Tardelli added.

Coach Giovanni Trapattoni hinted at his starting XI for the Nigeria match when he lined up Kevin Foley, Richard Dunne, Sean St. Ledger and Eddie Nolan in defence for a practice match. Keiren Westwood, Leon Best and Liam Lawrence are in the frame for debuts along with St Ledger and Nolan.

"I'm happy because the new players have worked very hard and understand the tactics the boss wants, this is positive," Tardelli added. "Every match is very important to see the new players and know them."