Duff and Andrews out
Published 05/10/2010 | 05:00
Ireland's preparations for the crunch Euro 2012 double-header against Russia and Slovakia have been rocked by the loss of both Damien Duff and Keith Andrews to injury.
The duo missed last month's opening victories over Armenia and Andorra, but appeared to be on the comeback trail.
Alas, Duff suffered a recurrence of his calf problem with 20 minutes remaining of Fulham's draw with West Ham last Saturday.
He came to Dublin yesterday to have the injury assessed and a scan revealed some spillage of blood in the muscle, which suggested another pull or tear.
The winger, who has endured a terrible run of luck around Ireland games in recent years, reluctantly returned to his club for treatment.
Meanwhile, Andrews has failed to convince the medics that he is fully recovered from a groin problem, with Trapattoni appearing to suggest that his Blackburn counterpart Sam Allardyce and the medical team at Ewood Park rushed the player back to first-team duty quicker than they should have.
Andrews made a substitute's appearance against Blackpool last Saturday week, before lining out in a reserve game. However, he was an unused sub against Stoke last Saturday and Trapattoni is of the opinion that, with the 30-year-old still feeling pain, he needs further time to rest.
The unavailability of Duff and Andrews, and the fact that the rest of the players came through training unscathed yesterday, means that Ireland will field an unchanged team against Russia on Friday in the Aviva Stadium.
Derby's Paul Green will capitalise from the absence of Andrews, and Liam Lawrence and Aiden McGeady will continue in the wide roles.