COVENTRY CITY manager Aidy Boothroyd says that Irish keeper Keiren Westwood has a chance of playing in tonight's Championship clash with Doncaster Rovers -- a major boost for Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia in 18 days' time.
While there is an outside chance that Robbie Keane and Richard Dunne will be fit for the crucial Macedonia clash, keeper Shay Given is definitely out, so the goalkeeping position is a serious concern for the Irish boss, especially as No2 Westwood was substituted due to injury during Coventry's defeat to Bristol City on Saturday.
As back-up keepers Brian Murphy and Joe Murphy are also out injured, Westwood's absence would have forced Trapattoni to turn to untested keepers like David Forde (Millwall) or Colin Doyle (Birmingham City) or else offer a recall after a four-year absence to the in-form QPR man Paddy Kenny.
Former Sheffield United man Kenny has earned praise for his form with Championship table-toppers QPR this season and he has recently stated his desire to return to international football -- Kenny last played for Ireland in the 5-2 defeat to Cyprus in 2006.
But Coventry says that Westwood's injury is not as bad as initially feared and that the former Carlisle United man has a chance of featuring for struggling Coventry against Doncaster tonight.
"We will assess Keiren in the morning and hope that there is no long-term damage and that he can play, but if not then I will look to get someone in to help us out," said City boss Boothroyd.
Given has missed just three competitive games for Ireland since 2000 and each time he was absent the Irish side struggled, against Cyrus (lost 5-2), Czech Republic (drew 1-1) and San Marino (narrowly won 2-1).
Westwood has been capped five times at senior level but all in friendly games so Macedonia -- if he's fit -- will be his competitive debut.
The back-up position is also a concern for Trapattoni due to injuries to the two Murphys.
Joe Murphy has not appeared for Scunthorpe in seven weeks due to an ankle injury picked up in a Championship defeat to Leeds United in January and the 29-year-old, who made his senior debut for Ireland way back in 2003, says that he still has no idea when he'll be back, but the Finglas man appears to be running out of time.
"I am hoping to be able to go down to see a specialist in London," Murphy says.
"I spoke to someone from Sheffield United last week, who had a similar sort of injury. They had an injection and were back within 10 days.
"As a player it's frustrating seeing the lads going out and train and you are stuck in the gym, not able to get involved.
"In the last couple of weeks I have been doing one or two things up at the training ground, I have done a warm-up but I am still struggling to run and jump.
"It just seems to affect me when there is body weight on it.
"I just want to get involved, it's been a long time," added Murphy, who is out of contract with Scunthorpe at the end of the season.
"It's been quite frustrating.
"Originally I was told I'd be out for three weeks, it's been seven now.
"I have had a couple of scans.
"The most recent was last Wednesday and they said there is still a bit of scar tissue and fluid there.
"This is one of the longest times I have been out injured," he added.