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Friday 19 January 2018

Trapattoni sweats as injury list mounts up

Daniel McDonnell and David Kelly

GIOVANNI Trapattoni is sweating on the fitness of two favoured lieutenants ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier with Germany in Dublin.

Glenn Whelan joined Sean St Ledger on the doubtful list after damaging his hamstring in the first half of Stoke's Premier League draw at Liverpool. St Ledger suffered the same injury while on duty for Leicester on Saturday, and both will undergo scans today.

Trapattoni has always picked Whelan and St Ledger when available, and the injuries could throw his plans into disarray.

With Richard Dunne and Kevin Doyle already sidelined and management still coming to terms with the retirements of Damien Duff and Shay Given, it will be a very different Irish side to the XI from Euro 2012.

James McClean, a likely substitute, is another major worry due to a groin problem. The Sunderland winger, who was back home in Derry watching his former club in FAI Cup semi-final action yesterday, will also find out the extent of damage this morning.

Meanwhile, Aviva Stadium manager Martin Murphy has allayed fears about the surface ahead of the German visit. The surface was described by Leinster coach Joe Schmidt as "folding like a carpet" during Saturday night's Leinster v Munster Pro12 encounter, with the pitch cutting up throughout the game.

"It was an issue," said Schmidt. "Our physio Gareth Farrell spent more time repairing the divots than repairing our injured players which is a little disconcerting."

The pitch had been re-laid in places after the recent Lady Gaga concert.

However, Murphy said: "The ground staff repaired any damage. We are confident all will be well by Friday's game."

Irish Independent

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