Monday 18 December 2017

Irish Canaries on song but Dunne a huge worry for Trapattoni

Cian O'Connell

WES HOOLAHAN and Anthony Pilkington strengthened their claims for an Ireland call-up by making key contributions in Norwich City's shock victory over Arsenal in front of the watching Giovanni Trapattoni.

However, Trapattoni departed from Carrow Road with more pressing problems to ponder following worrying news regarding Richard Dunne, who continues to be beset by injury troubles.

Dunne (33) hasn't played for Aston Villa this season and won't return to action before the end of the year.

Many eyebrows were raised when Dunne was put on a standby list for the World Cup qualifiers against Germany and the Faroe Islands. And the sceptics were proved right as, while his Irish team-mates were preparing for those matches, Dunne had a second operation on his groin.

The Dubliner is now rated extremely doubtful for the friendly with Poland in February and faces a race against time to regain match-fitness in time for the crunch qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in March.

On a bright note, Trapattoni will be tempted to include both Pilkington and Hoolahan in his squad for next month's friendly against Greece on the basis of what he saw at Carrow Road.

Playing behind the bustling Grant Holt, former Shelbourne playmaker Hoolahan was clever throughout as the Canaries' passion was married with purpose -- especially on the break.

Irish Independent

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