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Cunningham's Ireland injury curse: 'He deserves recognition and hopefully that will come'

A hamstring problem has ruled the Preston North End left-back out of Friday’s friendly against Turkey.

Greg Cunningham in action for Preston.
Greg Cunningham in action for Preston.
Image: Alex Livesey

PRESTON NORTH END manager Alex Neil has expressed his sympathy for Greg Cunningham after he was forced to withdraw from another Republic of Ireland squad due to injury.

Cunningham was named alongside Preston team-mates Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan and Sean Maguire in Martin O’Neill’s provisional 30-man squad for this Friday’s friendly against Turkey in Antalya.

However, the 27-year-old left-back has been unable to travel with the squad. After picking up a hamstring injury 10 days ago in Preston’s defeat to Fulham, the Galway native missed Saturday’s victory over Sunderland.

Cunningham has been capped four times by his country, but he’s been waiting to add to that tally for over five years. His last appearance for Ireland came back in February 2013, when he started in a 2-0 friendly win over Poland at the Aviva Stadium.

“Greg is not going to make the trip with Ireland unfortunately,” Alex Neil told the Lancashire Post. “That is the last three trips he has been called up for and got injured prior to them.

“We are not talking niggles, we are talking proper injuries. It is really disappointing and frustrating for Greg, he deserves to get recognition and hopefully that will come.”

Cunningham, who was reportedly the subject of a rejected bid from Cardiff City earlier this season, has impressed at Deepdale since joining Preston from Bristol City in 2015.

After returning from a fractured leg he sustained last April, Cunningham was ruled out for a further four months when he picked up a severe hamstring injury in August.

Cunningham’s unavailability is likely to increase the prospects of a first Ireland cap for Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens, Matt Doherty of Wolves and Blackburn’s Derrick Williams.

‘He just has to get his head down and work. I feel he can be one of the best in the world’

Reading’s Liam Kelly declines Ireland call-up to keep England options open

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Paul Dollery

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