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Boys in Green nowhere to be seen on D-Day

ON another night of Premier League thrills, spills and goals, it was almost a surprise to see Shane Long and Wes Hoolahan registering some sort of Irish impact on the narrative.

After a week peppered with stories big and small and a night of great football and bad defending, you had to look hard to find anything of local interest until the two lads chipped in.

Apart, of course, from the ever more depressing progress of Richard Dunne's dogged fight to force his body to cooperate with the demands of training, never mind playing.

A quick rummage in the medical department came up with some general thoughts on the success rate of surgery to correct the kind of muscle tear Dunne has been grappling with and didn't exactly smooth a wrinkled brow. It goes wrong more often than it goes right.

Struggled

It is generally seen as a procedure which has the best chance of success the first time it's done and no doubt, Dunne sought the best in the business to increase the odds. But he had to go back for seconds. Roy Keane struggled with a similar injury but seemed to get by through force of will, luck and a good doctor, so all is not yet lost.

However, even allowing for the probability that Dunne will not be able to play for at least a few weeks, it is beginning to stretch credulity to think that he will be ready for an absolutely pivotal World Cup qualifier against Sweden in the third week of March.

If there was a glimmer of light, it came on a cold Yorkshire acre on Monday afternoon where Sean St Ledger took a significant step forward in his rehabilitation with 45 minutes for Leicester's development squad.

Nigel Pearson put in a provisional ball by warning against unrealistic expectations but at least St Ledger is playing again. There is unlikely to be anything to set the pulse racing during today's breathlessly nondescript drone of transfer news.

Last night, the Sky News anchors ripped through the evening action in the Premier League at breakneck speed so that they could fit in more teasers for what really matters.

Football is a bit of a nuisance when Deadline Day is upon us and the real stars get their chance to rattle on about agents, fixers and high-rolling billionaires for hours on end fuelled by energy drinks and rumour.

When there's an Irish deal in the air, it's easy to be seduced by it all but this time round, the jungle drums are silent.

Robbie Keane is usually the fallback for a local spin as the January transfer window deadline approaches but he's the main man at the LA Galaxy now that Brand Beckham has left.

Long looked like a possible man on the move and picked the right time to grab a poacher's goal against Everton.

There was a minor flurry around the fate of Aiden McGeady a few days ago and Seamus Coleman could yet be the wild card but where has all the reported interest in James McCarthy gone?

Over to someone, somewhere in England in a blizzard with a microphone and a Sky survival jacket for the latest ...