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Michael Obafemi to miss Ireland's Nations League clash with Ukraine

There is more encouraging news for Chiedozie Ogbene.

Michael Obafemi.
Michael Obafemi.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND HAVE BEEN dealt a blow ahead of tomorrow’s Uefa Nations League meeting with Ukraine as striker Michael Obafemi is set to miss out through injury. Obafemi was substituted shortly after his stunning goal against Scotland with a groin problem, and though he has travelled with the Irish squad to Lodz, Poland, he won’t be available for the game. 

There is more encouraging news regarding Chiedozie Ogbene, with Stephen Kenny optimistic the Rotherham forward will be fit having missed the Scotland game with a knock. 

“We think that Michael will miss out with his groin injury”, said Kenny. “We are hopeful that Chiedozie can rejoin the squad as his was an impact injury in the game last week against Ukraine . It has been quite sore and painful but we are hopeful that he can rejoin tonight in training.”

Obafemi sat out training entirely, with Ogbene undergoing his own warm-up routine, separate to the rest of the squad. 

Kenny said there will be several enforced changes to the Irish team tomorrow night, with Nathan Collins the only starting centre-back set to retain his place: Shane Duffy is suspended and John Egan is at home, awaiting the birth of his child. Jimmy Dunne of QPR has been called up to the squad, with Darragh Lenihan likely to be brought in for his competitive debut. 

With Matt Doherty, Seamus Coleman, and Andrew Omobamidele all injured, Kenny pointed out that his side are without the entire back-line that played the majority of the 2-1 loss away to Portugal last August. 

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“We are not unduly concerned because this is why we have been blooding players to give us this level of depth”, said Kenny. “I feel that anybody coming in will not necessarily weaken us. We have a strong squad and we have the capacity to deal with this. So it is a big challenge for us nonetheless but one that we are not fearful of.

“It’s certainly a big challenge. Ukraine have had some terrific results and they have shown their immense quality.  They have that depth in their squad as they showed when they played us last week. “They will bring back some of their main players tomorrow so we know that we are against it and have to put in a really, really strong performance. The players can take confidence from Saturday. “We will have several enforced changes but certainly the spirit is good in the group. Obviously we will have to be at our best tomorrow night and we know this.”

About the author:

Gavin Cooney  / reports from the LKS Stadium, Lodz, Poland

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