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Bad news for Ireland as Ciaran Clark is ruled out of Slovakia play-off

The Newcastle defender is likely to miss the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury.

Ciaran Clark in action for Ireland in a recent friendly with New Zealand.
Ciaran Clark in action for Ireland in a recent friendly with New Zealand.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND defender Ciaran Clark will not play again this season after the full extent of his ankle injury was confirmed.

The 30-year-old will miss Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia next month as a result, and is likely to be in a race against time to make the tournament should Ireland qualify. 

Clark left the Emirates Stadium on crutches having suffered the injury during a game on 16 February, and his hopes of returning before the end of the season have now been dashed.

Newcastle are yet to comment, but it is understood the former Aston Villa centre-back suffered ligament damage which will rule him out for the remainder of the campaign.

The defender has been on the outskirts of the Irish team since Richard Keogh sustained a serious knee injury last year, and he was a half-time replacement for the injured John Egan in the 1-1 home qualifier draw with Denmark in November. 

Clark had be in fine form for Newcastle and returned to action for his country as a half-time substitute in the 1-1 qualifier draw with Denmark in November.

He is the third Magpies defender to be struck by a long-term injury this term with Paul Dummett currently sidelined by a hamstring problem and loan signing Jetro Willems recovering from a ruptured cruciate ligament.

With wing-backs Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo also on the casualty list and loan signing Valentino Lazaro suspended for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Burnley, head coach Steve Bruce has seen his options reduced significantly.

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However, he still has Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune at his disposal, while Danny Rose arrived on loan from Tottenham last month.

The Magpies currently lie in 14th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone, but with work still to do after collecting just two points from the last 12 on offer.

With reporting by Gavin Cooney

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