Trapattoni sweats on O'Shea fitness as Ireland's woes mount
Giovanni Trapattoni's troubled preparation for Saturday week's Euro 2012 clash with Macedonia was further complicated last night after John O'Shea emerged as a serious injury doubt for the Aviva Stadium showdown.
O'Shea was forced off with a hamstring problem in the first half of Manchester United's Champions League clash with Marseille, and Trapattoni will be waiting anxiously for a medical bulletin.
With Richard Dunne a major concern with a shoulder problem, the well-being of O'Shea takes on extra importance. He would likely be moved to centre-half if Dunne was ruled out, and the prospect of another reshuffle will cause the Ireland boss a headache.
Trapattoni has suffered a run of bad luck in the lead-up to the clash with a tricky Macedonian side. Shay Given is out of the game, and skipper Robbie Keane will arrive in Dublin next week after just 22 minutes of top-flight action in the last month.
Therefore, another experienced loss would be a huge blow.
Kevin Foley of Wolves, Stephen Kelly of Fulham and Everton's Seamus Coleman would fight for the available place if O'Shea missed out.
There was some good news for Trapattoni last night with Keane back on the scoresheet. The Ireland captain scored for the West Ham reserves in their 4-2 victory against Newcastle.
Keane is unlikely to have any more game time under his belt before joining up with the Ireland squad as he is ineligible to play against Tottenham this weekend, due to the terms of his loan agreement.