Tuesday 16 January 2018

Keane's eye on Walters but concern over Ward

ROY Keane will be on hand at Stoke City today to see if Jonathan Walters can mask his pain and prove his fitness in time for Ireland's Euro 2016 clash with Poland.

And Ireland boss Martin O'Neill could do with a boost from the sight of Walters (inset), who broke his cheekbone last week, in action for Stoke as his first-choice left back, Stephen Ward, is the latest injury worry.

"Wardy's missed a few days this week but we're hopeful he will be in contention," Burnley boss Sean Dyche said ahead of today's game with Southampton. "It was just a niggle. It was nothing too major but he's missed a few days."

O'Neill will be in London today to check on David Forde in the Brentford v Millwall tie but he's sent Keane to watch the Stoke v Crystal Palace game, where the Ireland management hope that Walters is able to play, with a protective mask.

"Obviously Jon has had an operation on his cheekbone and he's got a mask that will protect that. The decision will have to be Jon's and how he feels," says Stoke boss Mark Hughes.

"He's had a general anaesthetic and that needs time to flush out. I will have conversations with him to see if he's ready to go but we have to be cautious."

Aiden McGeady is also a worry for the Ireland boss.

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