Jamie McGrath during last month's friendly victory over Qatar. Alamy Stock Photo
injury bulletin

Jamie McGrath one of several encouraging injury updates for Ireland ahead of Portugal qualifier

McGrath’s hip injury is not as serious as was initially feared, as he was stretchered off during a game against Rangers.

STEPHEN KENNY SAYS he expects Jamie McGrath to be fit for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Portugal and Luxembourg. 

McGrath left St Mirren’s clash with Rangers a fortnight ago on a stretcher, but the hip injury he sustained is not as serious as first feared.

“Yeah I think Jamie will be ok actually”, said Kenny. “The initial prognosis, it looked like he would miss the games, but I think he could play. It is not for me to say – St Mirren will comment on that – but I believe Jamie will be ok.”   

McGrath’s availability would be a major boost to Kenny, as he has become an influential member of his squad, playing in all of Ireland’s last five internationals. Kenny names his squad for the double-header on Thursday, and McGrath’s is one of several missives of good news on the injury front for Kenny.

Caoimhin Kelleher is expected to recover from the illness that has sidelined him for Liverpool’s two recent games, while Jason Knight’s thigh strain is not a long-term issue, and he may yet feature for Derby County on Wednesday night. 

Troy Parrott should also be available, as he missed MK Dons’ win at Crewe last weekend. 

Matt Doherty hasn’t played since being substituted at half-time of Ireland’s 4-0 win over Qatar last month, though was an unused substitute in Spurs’ 3-0 loss at home to Manchester United on Saturday. Kenny hopes Doherty will be involved in the Europa Conference League clash with Vitesse on Thursday, but admits the prospect has been muddied by the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo earlier today. 

“Matt is going to be alright. He is fine and in great form. He just has this hamstring, he had a scan, and it is a very, very minor situation. He just had to rest it for a week or so, just to be sure, because it is the second time it happened, just a very, very minor strain. It happened, the same injury, in the Luxembourg game back in March.

“He is ok, available and raring to go. They play obviously in Europe on Thursday and we thought he might play in that, which would have been ideal for him to play in the European game at home. At last he’d get a game under his belt but with the managerial change we don’t really know how that will go.”

Kenny was speaking at the launch of the Peter McVerry Trust’s Christmas Appeal.

“The trust does terrific work, moving very quickly and gets things done”, said Kenny of a housing and homeless charity first established in 1983. “It’s an amazing foundation and does tremendous work. You couldn’t really not support it.

“The work they do in relation to facets of rebuilding people’s lives, they do a lot of positive stuff. I met him a few years ago, it’s not an issue turning up and of course it’s a privilege.” 

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