St Ledger ruled out for Macedonia
GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI is praying that John O'Shea comes through tomorrow's Champions League final unscathed after Sean St Ledger was ruled out of next Saturday''s Euro 2012 qualifier in Macedonia.
The Preston man's unavailability -- he is still troubled by a knee injury he sustained on Irish duty back in March -- means that Trapattoni enters next weekend's game short of his two first-choice central defenders, with Richard Dunne suspended for the Skopje encounter.
Darren O'Dea, who deputised for St Ledger in the home win over Macedonia, returned to full training yesterday after recovering from an ankle injury and will get a chance to prove his well-being in Sunday's Carling Nations Cup match against Scotland.
Trapattoni plans to pair O'Shea with O'Dea in central defence for Macedonia , so he will nervously be watching events from Wembley. The Waterford man is not expected to make United's starting XI, but could well be involved at some stage.
"I hope that John O'Shea finishes the game without injury," said Trapattoni. "We have two or three injuries there. At the moment, I plan to play O'Dea in Macedonia because they have big players and he is experienced. If he shows us that he is fit, then he can play against Scotland."
Meanwhile, the bribery scandal that has rocked FIFA intensified last night with demands by presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam that the investigation be extended to include Sepp Blatter.
Bin Hammam's statement came hours after Blatter had hit back at claims that he had orchestrated the charges faced by Bin Hammam and the controversial powerbroker Jack Warner as part of a smear campaign.
Elsewhere, Manchester City defender Kolo Toure has escaped with a six-month ban after testing positive for a specified substance earlier this season. Toure, who could have been suspended for two years, will be able to resume playing in September as the ban begins from March 2, the date his provisional suspension started.