Stoke City winger James McClean faces a race to be fit for Ireland’s crucial Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia next month after suffering a medial knee ligament injury.
The Championship club confirmed that McClean would face “several weeks on the sidelines” after he went off injured during their 2-0 defeat to Preston earlier this week.
McClean has been a crucial part of Mick McCarthy’s side during their qualifying campaign with the 30-year-old starting every competitive game since the Irish boss took over at the start of 2019.
Ireland’s clash with Slovakia in Bratislava is still six weeks away meaning there is a chance that McClean returns to fitness for the game but McCarthy will still see his injury as a blow to preparations.
Stoke City released a statement on their official website outlining that McClean had suffered a medial ligament knee injury.
“Stoke City can confirm that James McClean is facing several weeks on the sidelines and that Thibaud Verlinden will miss the remainder of the campaign after they both sustained injuries in last night’s defeat by Preston.
“McClean has a medial ligament knee injury, whilst Verlinden who had to be withdrawn from the action just five minutes after joining the action as a substitute –has an ACL knee ligament injury.
“We wish both players a speedy recovery.”
McClean has found himself in strong form this season, especially since the arrival of manager Michael O’Neill with the winger scoring six goals and notching up five assists in 27 games as Stoke continue to battle their way out of relegation trouble.
Despite their recent defeat to Preston, Stoke’s form has drastically improved recently with only two losses in their last seven league games.
The Potters take on Queens Park Rangers on Saturday as they look to steer themselves further clear of relegation trouble, however the loss of McClean will no doubt be a blow to O’Neill’s side.
McCarthy released a statement on McClean’s injury outlining that the winger would be doing all he can to make sure he is fit for March’s game.
“I’ve been in contact with James since he got injured. He’s told me he will do everything he can to get on the plane to Bratislava next month and I’d expect nothing less from him.
“James has been a key player for me throughout this European Championship campaign and we will support him all the way with his recovery.”