Monday 19 March 2018

Christie and Quinn add to Ireland's list of injury issues

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE picture for Ireland's key World Cup qualifier in Austria on Saturday will start to become clearer today when the players report for duty at the team's base in Castleknock.

Cyrus Christie joined the list of defensive injury doubts over the weekend when he limped off in Derby's win over Wolves.

As expected, John O'Shea and Stephen Ward both missed out on their club commitments with Martin O'Neill flagging that up at his squad announcement.

Robbie Brady - who scored for Norwich in their defeat to Leeds - would likely be rerouted to left-back if Ward missed out. But Christie (below) is another option.

An update on James McCarthy's situation is expected with Ronald Koeman last week urging the player to stay behind for treatment at Everton instead of reporting to Dublin in an attempt to prove his fitness.

The Everton manager did say the final decision would rest with the player, however.

Stephen Quinn missed Reading's win at Wigan due to a knee problem and Ireland's issues in midfield could clear the path for Harry Arter to make his competitive debut.

Glenn Whelan suffered an unfortunate weekend as he scored an own goal for Stoke in their draw at West Ham, but Jon Walters dug him out of a hole by assisting in the equaliser for Bojan.

Whelan said afterwards that the Austria match had come up in his club's dressing room as Marko Arnautovic is a talismanic figure for the hosts. Arnautovic sat out the West Ham fixture due to a ban.

"I've been slagging Marko, saying he took the yellow card to keep himself fresh for the game," said Whelan.

"Come next week we'll be professional and trying to kick lumps out of each other.

"If we want to qualify, we have to go there and try to get a result. The position we're in now is really good. If we get the right result, it takes us away from them a little bit and puts more pressure on them.

"I don't think Austria will want to play us, we've got decent results and we're going well."

With Shane Long and Daryl Murphy ruled out, Walters will be extremely important to preparations for Vienna due to O'Neill's issues up front.

The other alternatives to Walters are the uncapped Adam Rooney, the injury-prone David McGoldrick and Kevin Doyle, who scored from the spot in Colorado Rapids' penalty shootout win over LA Galaxy in the MLS play-offs last night, in a game which saw both Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard come off the bench for Galaxy.

O'Neill and Roy Keane were at the FAI Cup final yesterday and Dundalk pair Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle will learn today if they've made the final cut.

Boyle did indicate that the duo were preparing to report for duty but Horgan said he was in the dark and Dundalk officials were waiting for official word.

Irish Independent

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