Ireland’s injury problems could be set to mount ahead of Tuesday night’s must-win World Cup qualifier against Serbia.
The 1-1 draw in Tbilisi on Saturday has put a serious dent in Martin O’Neill’s hopes of progressing from the group automatically, but securing all three points at the Aviva will put them back in the driving seat going into the final two games next month.
However, O’Neill could have a threadbare midfield going into the clash. The manager confirmed at Monday’s press conference that Burnley’s Jeff Hendrick will miss the game with the same quad injury that ruled him out of the Georgia clash. He has been sent for further scans on the knock but won’t feature in Dublin.
— FAIreland (@FAIreland) September 4, 2017
In even more troubling news, O’Neill also confirmed that Aiden McGeady and Wes Hoolahan are also doubts for the match. The former came on as a second-half substitute (and nearly scored the winner in injury time) but can be sidelined due a hamstring problem, while Hoolahan, who played no part at all in the match much to the chagrin of many, is suffering from a groin injury right now and he too will have to be assessed ahead of the qualifier.
Ireland have concerns over the fitness of Wes Hoolahan (groin) and Aiden McGeady (hamstring) v Serbia tmrw although both trained today.
— Philip Quinn (@Quinner61) September 4, 2017
With Wales narrowing the gap between second and third on Saturday night, O’Neill knows that Ireland will have to up their game considerably against the group leaders on Tuesday. Hoolahan could well have been a big part of that plan, and his absence could have consequences for how the manager wants the team to play against formidable opposition.