Monday 18 February 2019

No injury circus with Duffy as Shane is fit

Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Former Ireland defender Chris Hughton has given the current national team boss Martin O'Neill some very good news after revealing that Shane Duffy, an injury worry ahead of next month's World Cup play-off against Denmark, will make an instant return from injury.

O'Neill, already missing his first-choice right back, was a worried man last weekend as one of his established central defenders (Duffy) was substituted by Brighton after suffering a groin injury while the other centre half (Ciarán Clark) was dropped by Newcastle United, after a number of sub-par displays from the former Aston Villa man.

Clark may have to wait a while before he gets back into the Magpies side but Hughton says that Duffy should be fit to play for the Seagulls away to West Ham tonight.

"At the moment we think he'll be okay," Hughton said before yesterday's training session.

With Seamus Coleman and Jon Walters definitely out, and David Meyler absent from the first leg against Denmark through suspension, O'Neill can do without fresh injury worries, or a long spell on the bench for a player like Clark.

And it seems that Seán Maguire, who only made his debut in the home win over Moldova, is very much in the manager's thoughts as the Irish boss awaits a medical update from Preston.

O'Neill was at Craven Cottage to see Maguire start, and score, for Preston last weekend but the Kilkenny native suffered a spasm in his hamstring and had to be replaced in the first half,

"I watched young Maguire and he was excellent for half an hour, we have these problems to consider and it's a concerning time between now and the first game," said O'Neill, who will keep Maguire in mind for the play-offs.

And Preston manager Alex Neil is unsure how long Maguire will be out for as Preston prepare to face an in-form Wolves tomorrow.

"He's going to be a doubt, anything with your hamstring is a concern and it was a major blow for us on Saturday," said Neil.

"I thought it was a major blow for us at Fulham when he was injured.

"If you look at the game, he created the first goal and then scored the second.

"There was another one when he could have got a shot away but didn't quite shift the ball quickly enough.

"That was all within 30 minutes on the pitch, which is good going.

"I'm convinced that if Seán had stayed on the pitch we would have won the game," added Neil.

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