FORMER Colchester United attacker Sammie Szmodics has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time.

The 25-year-old, who scored a total of 40 times in 165 appearances for his home town club Colchester between 2013 and 2019, qualifies through his grandmother to play for Ireland.

Former Stanway School pupil Szmodics is one of two players drafted into the party for next month’s friendlies against Andorra and Hungary.

Keeper Darren Randolph, who has a hip problem, and strikers Callum Robinson (Achilles) and Aaron Connolly (foot) were ruled out.

Bournemouth’s Mark Travers will replace West Ham counterpart Randolph.

Szmodics scored 15 goals in 42 appearances for Peterborough United this season, helping them win promotion to the Sky Bet Championship as League One runners-up.

A Football Association of Ireland statement said: “Peterborough United attacking midfielder Sam Szmodics have received his first international call-up to the Ireland squad after an impressive campaign with the Posh.

“The 25-year old made 42 appearances last season, scoring 15 goals as Peterborough secured promotion to the Championship.

“AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers has also been called into the squad whilst captain Seamus Coleman, who had his injury assessed this week, has been passed fit for the training camp.

“Swansea City duo Conor Hourihane and Ryan Manning will link up with the squad on Monday after their EFL Championship play-off final whilst Shamrock Rovers’ Daniel Mandroiu will report for duty on Sunday following the SSE Airtricity Premier Division fixture against Longford Town.”

Kenny and his players will have a chance to work together at a training camp in Spain – they met up in Girona on Friday – ahead of the trip to Andorra on June 3 and the clash with the Hungarians in Budapest five days later.

The new manager has taken charge of 11 games since replacing Mick McCarthy at the helm last summer and is yet to preside over a victory, although he has been beset by selection problems throughout his reign to date.

Szmodics joined Peterborough on a permanent basis from Championship side Bristol City last September, having previously been on loan at Posh.

The former U's academy product ended his 16-year association with the U's when he joined the Robins in the summer of 2019.