Trap sweats over McGeady fitness for Slovakia showdown
Published 23/08/2011 | 05:00
AIDEN McGEADY is facing an uphill battle to be ready for Ireland's crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers with Slovakia and Russia after reports in Moscow suggested he is another week away from training.
The winger has spent the summer on the sidelines with an ankle problem, and needs to prove his fitness ahead of Friday week's clash with Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium. Spartak Moscow's final game before the international break is this weekend's local derby with city rivals CSKA.
However, the 'Sport Express' newspaper says McGeady -- who has been working individually on his fitness -- is a week away from joining the rest of his team-mates.
That will be a worry for Giovanni Trapattoni, considering that he will be expecting the Glaswegian in Dublin next week to begin preparations for the Slovakian showdown.
Of course, that game is followed by a trip to Moscow, where a fitter McGeady could conceivably join up with preparations for the Russian fixture if he was to miss the clash with Slovakia.
Trapattoni will be desperate to have the 25-year-old available, after his emergence as a big player for his country over the past 12 months.
With Damien Duff suffering a run of injuries around competitive international matches, McGeady has seized the initiative to become a creative influence.
The only positive for Trapattoni is that Duff is fit and well, although the Fulham star has a pair of club fixtures to come through this week.
After describing Duff as "indispensable", he would have to choose between McGeady and Stephen Hunt for the other wide role if both were available.
Hunt produced a strong display in June's wins over Macedonia and Italy and has proven adept at providing support to the central midfielders in away games.
Another wide player -- Seamus Coleman -- is already out of the upcoming matches due to ankle ligament damage.
Trapattoni does at least have cover in that department. Keith Fahey deputised on the right side of midfield in last October's draw in Slovakia, and appears to have skipped ahead of Liam Lawrence in the pecking order. Keith Treacy is another form option.
Still, the Italian has consistently stressed that the key to qualification is having his best players available and McGeady is in that bracket.
After likely starters Kevin Doyle and Keith Andrews belied concerns by coming through to start the season for their respective clubs, McGeady is now the major doubt.