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Ireland Handed Injury Blow For Massive World Cup Qualifier Against Wales

2016 UEFA European Championship Group E, Grand Stade Lille Métropole, Villeneuve d'Ascq, Lille, France 22/6/2016 Republic of Ireland vs Italy Ireland's Shane Duffy celebrates after the game

Ireland’s preparation for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales has been hit with the loss of defender Shane Duffy.

The centre-back limped out of Brighton’s surprise 3-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday, and while manager Chris Hughton seemed relatively hopeful at the time that the injury wouldn’t be a bad one, the club have since confirmed that Duffy has fractured his metatarsal and will be out of action for a minimum of six weeks.

The injury, of course, confirms that Duffy will be absent for the international at the Aviva later this month (as well as the friendly against Iceland four days later) which will come as a huge setback to Martin O’Neill’s plan to utilise the 25-year-old next to Ciaran Clark as the long-term partnership for Ireland.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - OCTOBER 06: Shane Duffy of Ireland in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group D Qualifier between Republic of Ireland Georgia at the Aviva Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

In Duffy’s absence, O’Neill is now likely to call upon one of John O’Shea or Richard Keogh to face Gareth Bale et al (though the latter is not 100% either having just come back from a calf injury).

The former Everton centre-half, however, does join a growing absentee list for the match, with Jonathan Walters set to miss out through injury and Robbie Brady suspended. O’Neill is expected to name his squad for both matches early next week.

The news also comes as a huge blow for Brighton, who are just starting to lose ground on Newcastle in the race for the Championship title.

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Author: The PA Team

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