Sport Soccer

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Coleman a doubt for Poland clash as Pearce replaces O'Dea

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

SEAMUS COLEMAN is a major doubt for Ireland's February 6 friendly against Poland after it emerged he could be sidelined for up to three weeks with a thigh injury.

The Donegal native has undergone a scan on the muscle after lasting just 58 minutes of Everton's 0-0 draw at Southampton on Monday, having damaged his thigh when he blocked a cross from Luke Shaw.

The 24-year-old (right) has emerged as Giovanni Trapattoni's first-choice right-back in recent months and has been a rare bright spark in a disappointing World Cup qualification campaign so far.

However, his injury is unlikely to affect his participation in the crunch March qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.

Trapattoni has had to make one change to his squad for the Poland friendly, with Alex Pearce being called up to replace Darren O'Dea.

Toronto FC asked the FAI to allow O'Dea to remain with them during pre-season training ahead of the Major League Soccer kick-off on March 2.

Robbie Keane wasn't considered for the Poland match because he is also preparing for the MLS season with LA Galaxy, where he is likely to see out the rest of his career.

Supporters with tickets for Ireland's clash with Poland will be given free entry to the U-21s meeting with Holland at Tallaght Stadium earlier in the day.

Noel King names his squad for that match this afternoon, with Derby defender Mark O'Brien expected to receive a first call-up.

On the domestic scene, Cobh Ramblers will return to the League of Ireland this season after a four- year absence.

The Co Cork club, who were demoted in 2009, have been issued with a First Division licence for the upcoming campaign, having agreed a deal with the PFAI, who had issues with them over unpaid wages.

League director Fran Gavin welcomed the club back into the eight-team division for whom the fixture list will be confirmed today.

"Cobh Ramblers has a tradition of league football for many years," Gavin said.

"This is a new beginning for the club and the people of Cobh. We encourage everyone locally to get behind the club and we look forward to their Airtricity League participation."

Irish Independent

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