Wes Hoolahan ruled out of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales

Rob Howley

Rob Howley

The Republic of Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifying tie against Wales on Friday and friendly versus Iceland on Tuesday has been cut from 39 to 28 by manager Martin O'Neill.

With star man Robbie Brady already suspended for Friday night's showdown at the Aviva Stadium, O'Neill has seen first-choice central defensive pairing Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark, as well as midfielder Harry Arter, succumb to injury.

"Wes is definitely out", the Ireland boss said after today's training session at the FAI headquarters in Dublin. We got the news through on the scan this morning and obviously it's not great, not great for us, not great for him and not great for his club.

"He's going to be out for quite a number of weeks, I believe".

Everton midfielder James McCarthy, who has missed his club's last two games with a hamstring injury, was due to meet up later on Monday, as was Colorado Rapids striker Kevin Doyle. "James has come over and we'll see how he gets on", says the northerner.

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During the week, Martin O'Neill was asked by a former footballer who bumps into him at the odd racing lunch whether or not he would be seeing him at Cheltenham, but the Republic of Ireland manager excused himself on the basis that "we have a game on the horizon against Wales and it is all just concentration on that". He thinks that he might be able to make it - that would be great if he can.

He missed Bournemouth's 2-0 win against Swansea this evening with a thigh injury, and while it had been believed that the midfielder was just suffering from a minor knock, his manager Eddie Howe appears to have ruled him out of featuring in the upcoming worldwide break. He's certainly not ruling himself out at this moment.

But this Wales team are a very strong unit and it looks as though they will have a full-strength squad to choose from for the trip to Dublin with talisman Gareth Bale back to full fitness and form, while other key players like Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ashley Williams and Wayne Hennessey are all available for selection.

He said: "Seamus has picked up a knock - it's precautionary".

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