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Dublin: 5°C Monday 17 May 2021

Slovak blow as captain Hamsik a serious doubt

Hamstring problem could keep Napoli star out of Friday’s game in Dublin.

Image: Salvatore Laporta/AP/Press Association Images

SLOVAKIA COULD BE without captain and playmaker Marek Hamsik for Friday’s Euro 2012 clash in Dublin, coach Vladimir Weiss admitted yesterday.

The 24-year-old, who has been capped 47 times for his country, pulled up with a hamstring problem during Napoli’s 3-1 friendly win over Palermo at the weekend and is now a serious doubt for the game against Ireland.

“It looks like he will not play against Ireland,” Weiss said yesterday. ”I called him on Sunday night and he told me that it’s worse than it seemed. He could not even walk properly.

He is a brilliant footballer and he’s our captain, but he’s not irreplaceable. We’ve managed to win games without him in the past.

Weiss was hopeful, however, that his star midfielder could yet be fit in time to face Armenia in a must-win game in Žilina next Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Marian Kello is the manager’s other major injury headache. The Hearts stopper had to be replaced for the final seven minutes of Saturday’s Edinburgh derby following a heavy clash with Hibs striker Akpo Sodje.

Kello joined up with the rest of his team-mates yesterday, with Weiss waiting on his medical team’s report before making any decision on a possible replacement.

Looking forward to Friday’s game, the Slovak coach told reporters that he was expecting a tough test in Dublin.

“Ireland have already proven their quality,” he said. “They have gone several matches unbeaten, but hopefully we can end that run.

It will be a difficult match. We have our problems, but so do the Irish.

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Niall Kelly

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