Aoife Mannion made her debut against China PR in February, and went on to face USA. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Injury List

Ireland defender suffers knee setback but Man United hopeful for World Cup availability

Aoife Mannion has emerged as an injury concern.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND international Aoife Mannion has suffered a knee setback, but Manchester United remain hopeful she will make the World Cup this summer.

Mannion was not included in United’s matchday squad for their 2-1 win over Manchester rivals City in the Women’s Super League on Sunday, and was reportedly wearing a knee brace after the game.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, United manager Marc Skinner confirmed the English-born defender suffered a “small tweak” to her MCL [Medial Collateral Ligament] in training.

While there’s no structural damage, she is expected to be out for a few weeks but the club are “hoping” she can be available for World Cup selection. “That’s the plan,” Skinner added, as quoted by BBC Sport journalist Emma Sanders:

This comes as another blow for Mannion, who has suffered two anterior cruciate ligament injuries in recent years. The 27-year-old centre-half has made a big impression through her two Ireland caps to date.

United’s final game of the season is against Everton on Saturday, while Chelsea face Reading as the title race — and relegation battle — goes right down to the wire.

Vera Pauw is sweating on several other players’ availability, particularly in the defensive department.

Megan Campbell, who is leaving Liverpool, has not featured in recent weeks, while Niamh Fahey has just recently made her own injury return for the Reds. Savannah McCarthy, likewise, is just back in action for Shamrock Rovers after an ACL injury, while Chloe Mustaki got a few minutes under her belt at the end of the Championship season after a groin setback.

Meanwhile, Ruesha Littlejohn, who’s set to depart Aston Villa, is managing her load after an Achilles flare-up. Lily Agg is on the comeback trail from an ankle setback, while Leanne Kiernan is back after a nine-month layoff with a significant foot injury.

Pauw’s side make their major tournament debut against co-hosts Australia in Group B eight weeks today — on 20 July — before facing Canada in Perth and Nigeria in Brisbane.

Tickets for Tallaght Stadium send-off friendlies against Zambia (22 June) and France (6 July) go on public sale tomorrow morning at 10am on Ticketmaster.

The FAI confirmed this morning that 1,300 WNT Season Tickets have been sold to date.

- Updated 2.15pm with further injury news, with a WNT transfer article available here>

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