Given gutted by Bosnia woe
Shay Given feels that Ireland need a draw from next Friday's first leg in Bosnia to give themselves a chance of qualification for Euro 2016, but is frustrated that he will be missing out on the occasion.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes confirmed last week that the Donegal native, Martin O'Neill's first-choice shot-stopper, would miss the two-legged decider because of a setback in his recovery from the knee injury he sustained against Germany.
And Given has confirmed that he underwent surgery to deal with the problem. "I chipped a bone in the match," he said. "Although it had settled down really well, I had a reaction in the training and then the operation on Wednesday. He (surgeon) took some bone out and hopefully it will settle down.
"If we can get a draw out there in Bosnia, we've every chance of qualifying," he said. "Our only problem is the few injuries and suspensions but I suppose that's what the squad is for. I'm gutted not to be there but I'll be there in spirit."
There was good news for Martin O'Neill on the injury front when Steve McClaren confirmed that Rob Elliot will be fit for Newcastle's Premier League encounter with Bournemouth. That said, Elliot - who is deputising for Tim Krul - is by no means guaranteed to make the Derryman's trimmed-down squad. Darren Randolph, David Forde and Keiren Westwood have been ahead of him in the pecking order.
O'Neill will chop down his 39-man panel over the weekend, but he will first take in a game which doesn't feature any members of that long list. The Championship meeting of Fulham and Birmingham should feature Dubliner Stephen Gleeson who has impressed this term.
Roy Keane, who will join O'Neill at tomorrow's FAI Cup final, will be at the Stadium of Light to watch Given's Stoke colleagues take on Sunderland.
Jon Walters and Glenn Whelan should figure, while Marc Wilson was left on the bench by Hughes last week. The Irish camp could do with Wilson getting another game under his belt as John O'Shea, who is expected to make his Sunderland comeback today, is suspended for the first leg.
Meanwhile, Brentford's Alan Judge has received recognition for his outstanding run of form by scooping the Championship's player of the month award for October. The uncapped midfielder has excelled for Lee Carsley's side.