Giovanni Trapattoni is hardly synonymous with change, but the Republic of Ireland's manager appears to have broken the mould in his preparations for the World Cup qualifier against Austria.
Trapattoni's starting XI has felt as if set in stone for the bulk of his five-year tenure but the lineup that will take on Austria at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night, in what has come to represent a tantalising opportunity after Friday's 0-0 draw in Sweden, will show nine changes from that which he favoured at last summer's European Championship. The survivors are John O'Shea and Glenn Whelan, who has been passed fit after ankle trouble.
The majority have been enforced by retirement and injury, with Shay Given and Damien Duff claimed by the former; Richard Dunne, Keith Andrews, Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane by the latter.
But Trapattoni's hand has not been quite so forced up front. In Keane's absence he might have picked Kevin Doyle, Simon Cox, Jon Walters or even Wes Hoolahan to play alongside Shane Long. Instead, he has chosen to give Conor Sammon his full competitive debut.
Sammon, the Derby County striker, has scored seven goals at Championship level this season and one more in the FA Cup. He was only called up by Trapattoni last month, for the friendly win over Poland, in which he started, while he came on as a late substitute against Sweden. "Feed the fish and he will score," sing his supporters.
The 25-year-old's third cap stands to be the finest moment of his career and it will highlight an eclectic path to the top, which began at University College Dublin in the League of Ireland when, in deference to The Salmon of Knowledge, that mythical Irish creature, he was The Sammon of College. He worked part-time in a bank while he played for UCD and, after a spell at Derry City, went to Kilmarnock and then Wigan Athletic. Derby paid £1.2m for him last August.
The selection feels rather unTrapattoni-like and yet the Italian has long sought a physical but mobile striker who can roam right or left to link up the play and also close down the opposition's full-backs.
He believes that Sammon could be that man, and someone who could produce a similar impact to Caleb Folan, who flickered, albeit briefly, under his charge. Trapattoni likes to paint the picture of how he plucked Folan from nowhere, rather than Hull City, to watch him star against Italy in Bari during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and he mentioned him again here. Folan now plays for T-Team in the Malaysia Super League.
Trapattoni has lost some of his faith in Doyle, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker was only called up on Sunday from the stand-by group to replace Keane, after the captain damaged his calf against Sweden. The manager had informed Doyle of his original exclusion by text message, which went down badly, and he was forced to spend a portion of his press conference attempting to play down the issue. "Everything is now fine," was the gist of Trapattoni's sentiment.
Hoolahan, and not Sammon, is the former League of Ireland player the public have clamoured to see in the national team but Trapattoni said the Norwich City playmaker would not fit into his system against Austria, while Walters will bring his bite and experience to bear in his less favoured position on the right, instead of Robbie Brady, and Cox will begin among the substitutes.
Trapattoni is back on the up after Sweden or, at the very least, he has weathered the storm that gripped last October after the 6-1 home defeat to Germany, which brought with it questions about his suitability to continue in the job. Ireland now have a run of three home fixtures; after Austria come the Faroe Islands and Sweden, although Trapattoni accepted that the good work in Stockholm would come unstuck if his team were to do likewise against the Austrians.
He talked up the importance of victory and that of showing the same focus and fighting qualities as were evident against Sweden, with James McCarthy set the challenge of taking a grip on proceedings. The Wigan midfielder keeps his place after an impressive performance in Stockholm.
"I told James that I'll punch him if he doesn't stop being shy," Trapattoni said. "He has the quality. I want him to say: 'I am James McCarthy, I can, I can.'"
The manager will give a late fitness test to the left-back Marc Wilson, who has a slight groin problem, with Stephen Kelly on stand-by to replace him. Ireland intend to show their collective capability.