GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI MAY be forced to call upon on some of his squad’s newer faces to see him through Ireland’s crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia at the end of the month.
Although the game on 26 March is still over three weeks away, the Irish boss has a number of injury concerns which now include defender Richard Dunne and midfielder Liam Lawrence.
Aston Villa last night confirmed that Dunne is likely to be out of action for up to a month after he picked up a shoulder injury during Tuesday night’s match against Manchester City. Villa were beaten 3-0 by the hosts in the FA Cup Fifth Round tie.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Villa boss Gerard Houllier did not appear overly concerned about Dunne’s absence.
Unfortunately, we’re going to lose Richard Dunne for three to four weeks with a shoulder problem. The good thing is, we haven’t got many games during that period.
However, the defender’s injury will present some selection headaches for Trapattoni who may now be forced to partner John O’Shea and Sean St. Ledger at centre-half.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth midfielder Liam Lawrence is also a doubt for the Macedonia clash after he suffered a recurrence of an earlier groin problem.
The 29-year-old was forced to drop out of last month’s Nations Cup game against Wales after picking up a knock during Portsmouth’s 1-1 draw against Derby.
Though he was initially scheduled to be sidelined for a couple of weeks, Lawrence attempted to make a speedy return for Pompey’s game against Scunthorpe last Tuesday evening. He was forced to sit that one out, he explained to reporters, after tweaking his calf during the warm-up.
It’s going to be another couple of weeks [before I'm fit again].
I was supposed to be out for a couple of weeks, but I’ve come back inside eight or nine days. Maybe it was too soon.
These fresh injury problems for Trapattoni follow on from the news that Shay Given will definitely miss Ireland’s next qualifier, while captain Robbie Keane’s fitness remains doubtful.
The Irish manager is expected to name his provisional squad for the game against Macedonia and the friendly against Uruguay in ten days’ time.