Monday 11 December 2017

All clear for Clark but Walters faces KO

IT'S a case of one bit of good news - and two bits of bad - for Martin O'Neill and his plans for the Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland on Sunday week.

With a full round of Championship games tonight and tomorrow, the Ireland boss will be checking his phone for any medical updates as players like David Forde, Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick will all be in action.

A club manager did ease O'Neill's worries as Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood confirmed that Ciarán Clark is not an injury doubt and revealed that the defender was simply substituted early in the second half of Villa's weekend win over Sunderland to prevent him from picking up another yellow card.

"I brought him off, He is on nine bookings. We needed to preserve him. You've got to think about these things," said Sherwood, a big admirer of Clark. Now that Stephen Ward has some game time under his belt with Burnley, Clark is unlikely to start against the Poles but O'Neill was eager to have the Villa man on board as cover.

But the news on Jonathan Walters and David McGoldrick is not so good. Walters has confirmed that he suffered a fractured cheekbone while in action for his club last weekend and he's considered a major doubt for the qualifier.

McGoldrick, who had an impressive debut against the USA in the last international, is again absent from the Ipswich squad for their meeting with Bolton tonight. "He felt it on Friday. It's just a little setback, we're hoping it's nothing, but he didn't train on Monday, and he's not available," said boss Mick McCarthy, who admits that McGoldrick has been missed by Town.

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