Stephen Kelly is confident he can win the battle with Chris Baird and new signing Zdenek Grygera
to become Martin Jol’s first choice at right back.

The Republic of Ireland international, who played on the other side of the back four as the Irish booked a place in the European Championship play-offs on Tuesday, has impressed with a string of solid performances at right back as Jol has experimented with a previously unchanged defence. Kelly, who returns to Stoke with Fulham this weekend after spending a spell on loan there two years ago, reckons he has impressed the new manager.

There’s an opportunity at right-back and I’ve proven I’m in contention with my last couple of performances.

Over the last month or so I’ve really stepped up a gear. I’ve proven to the manager I’m capable of playing in the big games, like against Chelsea and Manchester City.

I offer something a bit different to the others. My attributes are strong; I’m probably a bit more athletic and offer an attacking option as well.

There’s a few of us fighting for the position and it’s difficult, but you can only go on your last performance. Whenever I’ve played recently I felt I’ve done really well and hope I can continue that rich vein of form. I want to nail down the spot.