Blow for Republic of Ireland as Seamus Coleman set to miss out on Germany and Poland games
Gibson gets late call but Coleman set to miss out
MARTIN O'Neill's decision to spend his Saturday watching the Derby County-Brentford game turned out to be a wise one.
Because Ireland's back four against world champions Germany on Thursday will probably contain two Derby players, Cyrus Christie and Richard Keogh almost certain to start due to injury woes for the Ireland boss over defenders Séamus Coleman, Marc Wilson and Ciarán Clark.
Meanwhile, O'Neill's counterpart for Thursday's Euro 2016 qualifier must have had a smug smile on his face, blissfully unaware of how Derby were getting on, when he spent yesterday in a 75,000 crowd for the Bayern Munich-Borussia Dortmund game where eight members of Joachim Low's squad played.
And, with more news that Ireland fans can only dread, all three scorers for Bayern will be in action against Ireland this week (Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski).
The fact that Coleman is in Dublin today as the Irish squad train for the first time is good news but the Donegal man, not in the Toffees' squad for yesterday's game with Liverpool, is not expected to be fit for Thursday's game.
"Seamus was desperate to play and desperate to play for Ireland but medically he wasn't ready," Everton boss Roberto Martinez said.
"I don't know how long it is going to take. I doubt it will be two or three days and he will be fine. I think it is going to be a bit longer than that. We are going to work with Ireland and hopefully get Séamus on the pitch as quick as we can."
An Everton physio will work with Coleman in Dublin this week but surely O'Neill has to plan for Germany without Coleman, pushing Christie into contention for right back. With Clark out of the squad and Wilson struggling, it could be up to Keogh to start alongside John O'Shea against the World Cup holders.
Midfield is also a concern. With Glenn Whelan suspended for the German game, there is a big hole to fill but limited options. Darron Gibson had a confusing day yesterday: excluded when O'Neill announced that 27-man squad in the early hours, Gibson was back in the fold by tea-time yesterday.
Grumpy at the best of times, the initial snub and subsequent late call-up from O'Neill, who joked last month about Gibson's court appearance on a drink-driving charge, is bound to improve Gibson's laugh-a-minute mood. Exactly why Alex Pearce (zero league appearances for Derby this season due to injury) is in the squad ahead of Shane Duffy (ever-present for Blackburn) is another question only O'Neill can answer.
REP OF IRELAND (squad): David Ford (Milwall), Shay Given (Stoke City), Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Richar Keogh (Derby County), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby County), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Derby County), Paul McShane (Reading), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Robbie Brady (Norwich City), Marc Wilson (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby County), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Aiden McGeady (Everton), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Judge (Brentford), David Meyler (Hull City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich Town), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town).
rep of ireland