Hamstring hoodoo rules out Coleman for Cup semi-final
Hamstring trouble has again bedevilled Ireland defender Seamus Coleman who is now expected to miss two vital games for Everton this week.
With this weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United his priority, Roberto Martinez rested some of his mainstays for Saturday's fixture with Southampton but regular right-back Coleman (below) was substituted just short of the hour with a complaint he's sadly becoming accustomed to.
It was hamstring problems which forced the Donegal man to miss both of the European Championship qualifiers against Germany a year apart.
And while it appears there's no imminent danger of this latest knock jeopardising Coleman's availability for the Euros in June, Ireland boss Martin O'Neill could have reason to be concerned by the recurrence of the injury.
"Obviously Seamus felt his hamstring," said Martinez ahead of Wednesday's derby against Liverpool.
"We're going to assess him but it will be hard to see him being involved this week. That sort of injury will take a bit longer than a week."
Martinez's shuffling of his pack afforded Darron Gibson a first league start of the season and his slim prospects of challenging for a place in O'Neill's 23-man squad for France may be boosted by the misfortune of midfield rival Harry Arter.
The Bournemouth playmaker is up against it to figure again this season but is doing everything to overcome the Achilles injury currently keeping him sidelined.
He hopes an injection he received in recent days will prevent him from having to undergo surgery which would ruin his chances of being available.
"The truth was I could hardly walk on the Achilles when I came over for the friendlies last month and there was never going to be much chance of me playing," the 26-year-old admitted.
"My aim is to try and play the final two or three Premier League games of the season for Bournemouth to see if that is enough to get me a chance with Ireland at the Euros."
Meanwhile, young Everton striker Courtney Duffus insists he wants to declare for Ireland.
The 20-year-old has just been named the Premier League Under-21 Player of the Month for his exploits with Everton and is set to be handed his first-team debut on the campaign run-in.
"My mum is half-Irish and my dad's family are Jamaican, so I'm eligible to play for Jamaica, England or Ireland," said Duffus.
"I've actually just got my Irish citizenship, so am waiting for everything to go through with UEFA. I was supposed to go away with the U-21s last month but it didn't go through in time and I was injured anyway."