Lawrence out of play-offs as O'Shea faces fitness race
LIAM LAWRENCE has been ruled out of Ireland's Euro 2012 play-off against Estonia.
The winger reported to Dublin to have the ankle ligament injury he picked up against Crystal Palace assessed by the FAI medical staff and was not deemed fit. He returns to Portsmouth to work with the club's medical staff.
Lawrence was unlikely to start having fallen out of favour with Giovanni Trapattoni who is already without striker Shane Long, who was ruled out of both legs, and John O'Shea for Friday's first leg in Tallinn.
The Italian will not be calling up a defender as cover for the Sunderland man who will join up with the squad on Saturday in a bid to shake off his hamstring injury and play some part in the decider at Lansdowne Road.
Long has been ruled out of both games and while the Tipperary native will be at the stadium for the second leg, he'll be forced to watch from the stand after losing his battle to overcome a knee injury.
Leon Best, who was called up as cover for Long, is another injury doubt after he suffered toe and groin injuries in Newcastle's 2-1 win over Everton on Saturday.
The striker is due to report to the Ireland camp this morning, but his situation is further complicated by the fact that his wife is due to give birth in the coming days.
Darren O'Dea didn't play for Leeds United in their 1-0 win over Leicester City but the defender is expected to report for duty despite a head injury.
Meanwhile, in Long's absence, Simon Cox was handed his first league start by Roy Hodgson in West Brom's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal.
Aiden McGeady makes his long trip to Dublin from Russia with a spring in his step after scoring the equalising goal in Spartak Moscow's 1-1 draw with bitter rivals Dynamo to leave his side fourth in the league going into the final phase next spring.