Germany, Scotland and Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland all sit on the same number of points, three behind Poland, with six games remaining.
They were beaten in Scotland in November after picking up two wins and a fine draw in Germany, while Poland have won three and drawn one, including an impressive win over the world champions.
Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson has returned to Everton with a groin problem, but full-back Stephen Ward and winger James McClean, who had ankle knocks, were both able to train on Friday. Hull winger Robbie Brady and Stoke’s Marc Wilson are on standby to fill in at left-back if Ward is not fit.
Derby’s Jeff Hendrick (hip) will miss the game and O’Neill is likely to partner James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan in central midfield
O’Neill has given away little about his selection and will not name his team until Sunday, but the final open training session suggested he may employ a three-man defence and wing-backs against the Poles.
Poland’s injury list includes Lukasz Piszczek, Kamil Grosicki, Artur Jedrzejczyk and Michal Zyro, while Borussia Dortmund star Jakub Blaszczykowski has been left out of the squad amid newspaper reports of a spat with star striker Robert Lewandowski. However, coach Adam Nawa?ka insists he is concerned over the player’s fitness after a year out with knee ligament damage.
With Wojciech Szczesny not featuring for his club Arsenal, Nawalka has announced that Swansea’s Lukasz Fabianski will start in goal for his side with Artur Boruc on the bench.
Ireland’s record in 25 games against Poland is W6 D9 L10. It was 0-0 when they last met, in a friendly in Poznan on 19 November 2013.
They have only met twice in competitive fixtures, and both matches ended in a draw – 0-0 in Dublin and 3-3 in Poznan in EURO ’92 qualifying.
Ireland have won three of their last four competitive games at the Dublin Arena.
Poland have won both of their away games in Group D, scoring 11 goals and conceding none.
Poland come into this match having played exactly 100 UEFA European Championship games, with the record W41 D28 L31.
Home advantage makes Martin O’Neill’s men the favourites with Sky Bet, who go 6/4 on the Republic taking three points. Group leaders Poland are available at 19/10 to take a fourth win from five, while a draw would suit Scotland at 21/10.
Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane is the 5/1 favourite to score first, but it’s a wide open market with Shane Long and Robert Lewandowski each rated 11/2. Meanwhile, both Charlie Nicholas and Paul Merson have tipped up a 1-1 draw at 5/1.
See goals from the European Qualifiers as they go in on Goal Zone on Sky Sports News HQ from 5pm on Sunday and watch Republic of Ireland v Poland live on Sky Sports 5.