Ireland's Glenn Whelan struck by bizarre back injury
Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan could be sidelined for Stoke's trip to Anfield this weekend after injuring himself while getting out of his car.
Whelan has started every Premier League game this season for the Potters but that proud record looks under threat and it is unlikely that he will feature against Liverpool on Sunday.
Stoke assistant boss Mark Bowen said: “He did it, very simply, getting out of his car. People who have had bad backs will tell you how it can happen.
“He didn’t do anything untoward; he just got out of the car and felt something crack in his back.
“That was it. It’s the luck we’ve been having with injuries. Tell me about it.”
It is not the news Martin O'Neill would want to hear.
As things stand, all five of his main strikers are out with injury, three of them (Robbie Keane, Jonathan Walters and Kevin Doyle) having undergone surgery in the last week, and even though that trio have all expressed their hopes of being fit for the finals, their chances to get in some game time before the squad link up in Dublin next month will be limited.
The injuries to Shane Long and Daryl Murphy are more short-term.
Jeff Hendrick, Harry Arter and Ciaran Clark are also nursing injuries.
Mark Hughes has revealed that Shay Given is close to making a return to the starting XI in light of Jack Butland's ankle injury which will see the England international miss the rest of the season and Euro 2016.
The 40-year-old was on the bench last week for the 2-2 draw with Swansea with Denmark's Jakob Haugaard between the sticks.
“He’s fit and well, but still needs a couple of games.”