Martin O'Neill's goalkeeping options could be stretched ahead of World Cup double header

Yesterday, Keiren Westwood was substituted at half-time for Sheffield Wednesday.

Westwood faces a race against time to be fit for Ireland.
Westwood faces a race against time to be fit for Ireland.
Image: Barrington Coombs

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill could face a shortage of experienced goalkeepers ahead of the qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova.

Sheffield Wednesday’s Keiren Westwood was replaced at half-time in their 2-1 loss to Brighton, with the 31-year-old appearing to take a knock to his leg, after suffering with an illness prior to the game.

Speaking after the match, Owls manager Carlos Carvalhal was unsure if he would be available to join the national team.

“(Westwood) was sick, with a problem to play but he tried to play and played but after he felt something on his leg and didn’t come out for the second half,” he told the Sheffield Star.

“He can’t kick the ball, as I understand.”

Should the former Sunderland shot-stopper not be available to link-up with Ireland, O’Neill may be forced to call-up more experienced cover with the uncapped Falkirk goalkeeper Danny Rogers the only back-up to first-choice Darren Randolph in the squad.

Dundalk’s Gary Rogers could be one alternative, but O’Neill has stated his reluctance to name any Lilywhites player in the panel, with Stephen Kenny’s side facing a hectic schedule.

Newcastle’s Rob Elliot is still out injured, which would leave the Ireland manager with Nottingham Forst’s out-of-favour Stephen Henderson and Portsmouth’s David Forde, who dropped out of the last squad to concentrate on his club commitments, as other possible contenders.

Gavin Cooney
Reports From Qatar

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