PAUL McShane could yet find himself on the plane to Poland next month as manager Giovanni Trapattoni attempts to find cover for his injured troops.
The 26-year-old trained with his Republic of Ireland team-mates in Malahide this morning after joining up with the squad last night following a late call-up.
McShane, who was initially among a standby list of five players when the party for Euro 2012 was named, seems certain to play against Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday with Richard Dunne, John O'Shea and Sean St Ledger all struggling for fitness.
However, Trapattoni has revealed he will probably join the party for next week's training camp in Montecatini, Italy, and the friendly against Hungary in Budapest which follows it, and may yet head for Poland too.
The 73-year-old said: "He will probably come with us because we need one more. We may take 25 to Italy, it's no problem."
Asked if he would be retained when the squad heads for its tournament base in Gdynia on June 5, Trapattoni replied: "I can ask him then, but before that, we have Hungary.
"Hungary is a very difficult game and maybe we need to give the 23 before.
"Only with injury, we can decide to change or not."
Trapattoni has to confirm his final 23-man squad by May 29, but changes can be made right up until the day of Ireland's first game - against Croatia in Poznan on June 10 - in the case of injury, provided it is ratified by a committee of UEFA doctors.
In the circumstances, McShane, or indeed any other player, could travel as back-up but then head home if not required, or replace an injured team-mate if permission was granted.
Trapattoni also revealed he is not the only man to have received a call with defender Damien Delaney and midfielder Paul Green among those to have been alerted.
He said: "Delaney, Paul McShane - we have other substitutes and they have been contacted.
"We have called them in case we need them, Paul Green also. But we have time to evaluate the situation."
The Italian's plans have been thrown into confusion by a series of injuries, none of which appear particularly serious but all of which are short-term concerns.
Dunne's lower abdominal micro-tear, O'Shea's ankle and St Ledger's groin strain have all required rest, while Kevin Foley is working his way back from a hamstring problem and Keith Fahey has been limited by a groin injury since his arrival in Ireland.
Midfielder Glenn Whelan missed training today but only because of a sore throat, while goalkeeper Shay Given was in London to consult a knee specialist.
Trapattoni said: "Tomorrow we will know what's happening. The specialist will tell us if it is possible to run with this injury or if it needs rest.
"Maybe after four days, but not now and for Hungary, he can be ready. We await a response from the specialist."
Given is understood to be keen to play at the weekend, but Trapattoni is not a man who will risk the longer-term health of one of his players if he deems it unnecessary.
He said: "We don't know. I think he wishes to, but if he wishes and he has a problem...
"Our Euros begins in Poland, not at the Aviva or in Hungary."
If Given, O'Shea, Dunne and St Ledger miss out on Saturday, Trapattoni will be without four members of his first-choice back-five, with left-back Stephen Ward the last man standing.
But having seen the likes of Darren O'Dea, Stephen Kelly and McShane deputise in the past, the Italian will have no qualms about using them once again.
He said: "Now we have called up Paul McShane and, in this game, maybe Dunne won't play. He said to me he can be ready for Hungary.
"The same also for St Ledger. We have Kelly, we have Paul McShane, we have O'Dea and we have also Ward. We have substitutes."
O'Shea was able to train partially today but Trapattoni admitted he will probably not risk him.
He said: "It's important in a game to be able to shoot, cross and tackle, and I think in this game he probably won't play."