Four potential Ireland starters are injury doubts for crucial Wales game

Martin O’Neill will have a number of injury worries as players report for international duty on Monday morning, writes Stephen Barry.

With Shane Duffy already ruled out and Robbie Brady suspended for Friday’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales, Ireland would’ve been hoping for a clean bill of health from the weekend’s action. However, a number of potential starters have picked up injuries.

Wes Hoolahan, who set up James McClean’s crucial goal against Austria last November, limped off after half-an-hour of Norwich’s 2-0 win at home to Barnsley.

The Canaries’ caretaker manager Alan Irvine said after the game, “Wes Hoolahan has a thigh strain. We'll look at him and speak to Ireland.”

Harry Arter, who also started in midfield alongside Brady and Hoolahan in Vienna, was left out of Bournemouth’s squad for this evening’s game against Swansea.

The midfielder has a calf injury and failed a late fitness test.

Ciaran Clark, Duffy’s centre-back partner last time out, missed Newcastle’s scoreless draw at Birmingham with a knee injury.

“Clark has a problem with his medial ligament. He will not be available,” Rafa Benitez said before the game.

Everton midfielder James McCarthy, who missed Ireland’s trip to Austria, was also ruled out for this weekend with a recurrence of the same hamstring problem.

After naming the provisional Irish squad last Monday, O’Neill quipped about McCarthy’s injury: “We can't be blamed for this one, Everton have had him all this time, though you never know.”

In better news, Jon Walters scored a goal in Stoke’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea, Aiden McGeady scored a late leveller for Preston at Blackburn and Jonny Hayes scored in Aberdeen’s 2-0 win against Hearts.

KEYWORDS: soccer, ireland


By Stephen Barry

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