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Friday 9 December 2016

John O'Shea is the only doubt for Scotland clash

O'Neill confident after England draw

Ireland's John O'Shea speaks with manager Martin O'Neill
Ireland's John O'Shea speaks with manager Martin O'Neill

John O'Shea has emerged as the only major fitness worry after Ireland's tame 0-0 draw with England at the Aviva.

The veteran centre-half, rock solid in O'Neill's defence until he was substituted against the English, asked to leave the pitch because of fears about a tight calf muscle.

But O'Neill is confident O'Shea will be fit after a few days rest and that he is not a serious doubt for Saturday's huge Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland.

"I don't think so, really, he was just tightening up and the last thing we want to do now is lose him," said the Ireland boss.

"We were precautionary and it's something that has happened him in the past. I would be hopeful that in the next couple of days he can come through."

Meanwhile, England boss Roy Hodgson reckons that next Saturday's clash with Scotland will be a "ding-dong" battle.

"If I was to assess the two teams, it will be a really ding-dong battle next week. Very competitive and very exciting. Don't expect 5-1 but more like 1-0 or 2-1," he said.

FOOTBALL FOCUS: PAGES 55-59

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