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Dublin: 9°C Friday 26 February 2021

Hoolahan the latest to drop out as Ireland hit with injury crisis for Wales clash

The Norwich City schemer is one of several first-team regulars missing for Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

Wes Hoolahan is unavailable due to a quad injury.
Wes Hoolahan is unavailable due to a quad injury.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WES HOOLAHAN HAS joined Ireland’s worrying-large injury list for the all-important World Cup qualifier against Wales this week.

The experienced attacker, 35, has been a key player under Martin O’Neill but hobbled off in Norwich City’s win over Barnsley on Saturday.

Although he was due to link up with the squad, Martin O’Neill today revealed that Hoolahan will now remain at his club after having a scan on the quad injury.

It’s another blow for the Boys in Green, who are already without Robbie Brady (suspended), Shane Duffy (broken metatarsal), Ciaran Clark (knee ligament damage), Harry Arter (calf), Paul McShane (hamstring), Rob Elliot (knee) and David McGoldrick (knee).

“Wes is definitely out,” the Ireland boss said after today’s training session at the FAI headquarters in Dublin. “We got the news through about the scan this morning and obviously it’s not great for us, not great for him and not great for his club.

“I have often said this before, you just curse your luck and get on with it,” he added, when asked about absentees.

“The irony of all of this is that way back when Gareth Bale got injured in November time, everybody was talking about Wales possibly having one of their major players out of the team, and it turns out that we are the ones who are doing the suffering.

But it is what it is and we’ll get on with it and be ready to go on Friday.”

There are also a number of doubts with Newcastle striker Daryl Murphy having a scan on his calf today, while Everton’s James McCarthy is recovering from a hamstring injury. Captain Seamus Coleman sat out training due to a knock to the ankle but it is precautionary and the full-back is expected to be fine.

Seamus Coleman, Daryl Murphy and Jonny Hayes Seamus Coleman, Daryl Murphy and Jonny Hayes sit out training today. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Wales, meanwhile, have been boosted by the return of their talisman as Gareth Bale is fit again after suffering an ankle injury back in November.

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O’Neill is an admirer of the Real Madrid star and he’s acutely aware that Ireland’s available players will have to be at their best at the Aviva Stadium this Friday night.

“Bale is an absolutely top class player,” he said. “He’s into the world class bracket. He has proved that, winning Champions League medals with Real Madrid. He left Tottenham, where he was a real star, and he has gone to prove himself with Real Madrid.

“He’s a really fine player, there’s no question about that. Wales have got some really good players besides that who are playing at a big level and they are coming here relatively injury-free.

It’s a tough task. It would have been that normally, even if we were at full-strength. It’s going to take an almighty effort to win this game.”

Irish football is still coming to terms with last night’s news that Derry City captain Ryan McBride passed away at the age of 27, and O’Neill, himself a Derry native, took the opportunity to offer his condolences.

“It is tragic,” he added. “I didn’t know the young lad personally myself, but James McClean is a very good friend of his. James is devastated by the news, obviously his family is as well.

“It’s a really tragic event. You get things like this almost on a daily basis and it’s puts football and sport in some sort of perspective.”

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Ben Blake

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