Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane says Ireland will have “no excuses” this Friday night against Wales, despite the absence of eight players from O’Neill’s original squad announcement.
Newcastle United striker Daryl Murphy is Ireland’s latest casualty as he returns to his club to receive further treatment on his injured calf, while Everton midfielder James McCarthy has been branded as “very doubtful” by Keane.
“James didn’t train today and I would say very doubtful,” said Keane after training.
“I think he had another scan yesterday and I think he might have done a bit of running with Dan (Horan) today, but if he wasn’t to join in the group tomorrow then he’s highly unlikely to be involved on Friday. It’s just too close to the game and the type of injury he’s got, which is recurring.”
Furthermore, Everton defender Seamus Coleman and Aberdeen winger Johnny Hayes also sat out today’s training session with respective ankle complications, however, Keane did say that he’d expect both players to train tomorrow.
Ireland will be missing five players from November’s 1-0 win over Austria but Keane refused to accept that Ireland’s mounting injury crisis could be used as an excuse against Chris Coleman’s Wales side on Friday.
“We’ve got to focus on the game and the lads we have, but if you keep talking about the lads who aren’t here, part of it is being disrespectful to the group you still have,” added Keane.
“We’ve got a good group of players and we’ll be ready for Friday night. There’ll be no excuses.
“We’ll have 11 lads starting, we’ll have lads off the bench, and obviously I made a comment a few weeks ago, a bit tongue in cheek, about players who aren’t here and the medical stuff; we’re not in control of that.
“We’re in control of the lads who are here who are training and that’s why you have to have that mentality just to get on with it.”
Keane also said that he was unsure if West Bromwich Albion winger James McClean would be attending the funeral of Derry City captain Ryan McBride in Longtower, Derry on Thursday, but did say that McBride’s death was shocking news for the football community.
“It’s shocking news with young footballers dying like that,” said Keane.
“It’s very sad, but as I said you’ll have to speak to James about that as I don’t know what his mindset is. We also have to be professional and focus on the job on Friday. That’s part of life.”
Republic of Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane has let everyone know, in no uncertain terms, that his table-toppers will be going for all three points against Wales on Friday night.