Sunday 4 December 2016

Ireland's striker options depleted further as Jon Walters pulls out of Slovakia friendly

Published 26/03/2016 | 15:41

Jonathan Walters will not feature against Switzerland or Slovakia
Jonathan Walters will not feature against Switzerland or Slovakia

Despite last night's reports to the contrary, Ireland striker Jon Walters has not sufficiently recovered from a calf strain to play any part in Ireland's friendly against Slovakia on Tuesday.

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Walters missed Ireland's 1-0 win over Switzerland last due to the injury but Martin O'Neill seemed certain that the Stoke attacker was amply recovered to line out against Slovakia. However, after a brief training session today, the decision was taken not to needlessly gamble with the issue.

The timing, to say the least, is poor. Skipper Robbie Keane was also ruled out of the Slovakian tie with the same knee problem that precluded him from participating last night.

The loss of Keane and Walters is compounded by the nasty gash suffered by Kevin Doyle against the Swiss, which subsequently required minor surgey. Indeed, Doyle's replacement, Daryl Murphy, was also called ashore before the final whistle.

O'Neill's striking options for Tuesday are now seriously restricted and he may call upon an auxiliary centre frorward.

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