HULL CITY fear that Robbie Brady could miss the rest of the season due to his recurring groin problem.
The Dubliner broke down again in training last Sunday, the latest setback in a campaign laced with frustration after a promising start. Early indications were that the 22-year-old would face another three weeks on the sidelines, but reports suggest the problem might be far more serious for the ex-Manchester United youth and the worst-case scenario is that he doesn't play another game this term.
Brady was struck down at the end of the September by the necessity of a hernia operation. Hull insist that persistent groin issues since his recovery are not linked with that surgery, but acknowledge he returned to action before he was fully fit.
Brady's issues have halted his international ambitions and he was left out of Martin O'Neill's squad for the forthcoming friendly with Serbia.
He's not the only Irish international going through hard times at Hull, with Paul McShane coming to terms with a lengthy absence.
His employers are hopeful that he will return in time for pre-season training after damaging his ankle. McShane underwent exploratory surgery on Monday and will go under the knife again within the fortnight.
Meanwhile, Ipswich striker Daryl Murphy has expressed surprise at his recall into O'Neill's plans for the Serbian encounter following a six-year absence from the international sphere.
"I didn't have an inkling that I would be included," said the 30-year-old. "I knew Martin O'Neill was at the game with Blackpool on Saturday but I didn't think any more about it. It (call-up) was a bit of a surprise but a nice one."