Trap left to sweat after Wilson's unlucky break
MARC WILSON is out until the new year after suffering a broken fibula in Stoke's clash with Sunderland, with Giovanni Trapattoni facing an anxious wait to see if the player will recover in time for March's World Cup qualifiers.
Trapattoni was in the stands at the Britannia Stadium when the left-back fell awkwardly after challenging the Black Cats' Steven Fletcher at the beginning of the second half.
It was quickly apparent that the Aghagallon native had suffered a serious leg injury, and he was taken to hospital immediately for an X-ray.
Yesterday it emerged that the 25-year-old had broken his fibula. "Hopefully I can make a speedy recovery," Wilson tweeted. "Thanks for the support, I really appreciate it."
His manager Tony Pulis added: "Marc will be out for a while, but we are not sure at this stage for how long."
It is possible to recover relatively quickly from a fibula fracture. Last year, Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna was struck down at the beginning of October and returned at the end of January. Stoke are hoping to have a clearer picture on the seriousness of Wilson's break and the likely rehab time this week.
Still, while it's not certain that the player will miss the crunch March games with Sweden and Austria, the timing of the injury is particularly unfortunate given that he has finally edged Stephen Ward out of the left-back spot.
Wilson opened the scoring and generally impressed in the 4-1 win over Faroe Islands a fortnight ago, and next month's friendly with Greece offered the ideal opportunity to further his education in that role. It offers a reprieve for Ward, who has struggled at international level this year.
Trapattoni will name his squad for the Greek game on Wednesday. It should include James McClean, who had the most to gain from the Italian's visit to England on Saturday.
However, it was difficult for the winger to shine in the scoreless draw. Stoke were the better side and he was pressed into defensive duty, with Martin O'Neill keeping him involved for the 90 minutes and withdrawing his other attacking midfielders, Seb Larsson and Adam Johnson.
McClean admitted over the weekend that his confidence had been damaged by his peripheral role in Euro 2012. He is yet to regain the spark that propelled him to stardom at the beginning of this year, with O'Neill acknowledging that defenders are now better prepared for the threat he presents.
John O'Shea also played a full part in proceedings on Saturday, with Keiren Westwood on the bench and David Meyler failing to make the match-day squad. Stoke's Glenn Whelan remains on the sidelines with a hamstring problem; Jonathan Walters featured for 72 minutes before being called ashore.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Wes Hoolahan added to the argument for his inclusion in the Greece fixture by making a starring contribution in Norwich's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
Trapattoni was at Carrow Road last week to watch Hoolahan excel in the hard-fought win over Arsenal, and the Dubliner must have strong prospects. His team-mate Anthony Pilkington is also in the shake-up.
One of the Irish manager's favourites, Simon Cox, was on target in Nottingham Forest's thrashing of Barnsley but there was frustration for some other squad regulars with Keith Fahey, Stephen Kelly and Andy Keogh among those who didn't see any game time.
They must envy James McCarthy's secure standing at Wigan, with the stylish midfielder making a good contribution to their defeat of West Ham. Seamus Coleman also continued his education with full participation at right-back in the entertaining Merseyside derby.