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Hammer Blow

O’Shea now also a major doubt for Macedonia game

Manchester United defender picked up a hamstring strain during last night’s Champions League action.

JOHN O’SHEA HAS been added to Giovanni Trapattoni’s long list of injury worries, after he picked up a hamstring injury during Manchester United’s Champions League victory over Marseille last night.

The defender was substituted after just 35 minutes, and the extent of his injury is not yet known.

However, a hamstring strain will usually take three to four weeks to recover from, putting O’Shea in serious danger of missing Ireland’s tie against Macedonia on March 26.

O’Shea is the latest player to be added to the casualty list, with Richard Dunne and goalkeeper Shay Given already ruled out through injury. If the Waterford man does not recover in time, Trapattoni’s side will be deprived of a huge amount of experience at the back.

Relative newcomers Kevin Foley of Wolves and Seamus Coleman of Everton, would be likely replacements, alongside Fulham’s Stephen Kelly, who has 20 caps at international level.

Trapattoni will also be worried by the lack of game time Robbie Keane is getting at West Ham. Ireland’s all-time top scorer has played only 22 minutes of top-flight action in the last month, though he did find the back of the net last night for the reserves in a victory over Newcastle.

To make matters worse, Keane is also ineligible to play against Tottenham for the Hammers this weekend, due to the terms of his loan agreement. This means the Ireland captain will not see any more action before he joins up with the international squad next week.