Hartlepool United keeper Trevor Carson’s Northern Ireland debut dreams hang in the balance.
The goalie lasted just 35 minutes of Pools’ 2-0 win over Cheltenham on Saturday, which was Craig Hignett’s men’s first home league win since April.
As a result, he is rated as touch and go for the friendly clash with Croatia in Belfast tomorrow night.
The 28-year-old suffered a dislocated finger in a coming together with Town forward Billy Waters,. He has since been allowed to return to Northern Ireland’s training base.
Carson was allowed special dispensation to come back to the Northern Gas & Power Stadium to face the Robins.
His arrival back in the North East, in the early hours of Saturday morning, came less than 12 hours after Carson was named as an unused sub by Michael O’Neill for Friday’s World Cup qualifier win over Azerbaijan.
And as things stand the ex-Sunderland man could still be in line to make his senior international bow in tomorrow’s Croatia clash.
Although, that will only happen, should he be given the green light by medics across the Irish Sea.
Manager Hignett, after seeing Lewis Alessandra and Matthew Bates sink Cheltenham to move within three points of the play-off places in League Two, explained: “Trevor has a dislocated finger. He has been sent to hospital, but, Trev being Trev, he thinks he’s OK for Tuesday.
“He could be playing some part in it, but he hopes he’s going to be strapped up and be able to play.”
Carson is set to be assessed by the Irish medical staff before any final decision is made on his availability. Should he miss out it would represent the bitterest of blows for the stopper, who has been outstanding for Pools this season.
Should he be declared fit, Carson is set to become only the second Pools player to be capped. Ambrose Fogarty won the last of his 11 Republic of Ireland caps in 1964, shortly after signing from Sunderland.
Hartlepool: Carson (Bartlett 37), Donnelly (Harrison 88), Nsiala, Bates, Carroll, Laurent, Featherstone, Hawkins, Alessandra, Amond, Deverdics (Woods 82). Subs: Paynter, Oates, Richards, Orrell. Goals: Alessandra 45, Bates 79
Cheltenham: Griffiths, Downes, Parslow, O’Shaughnessy, Dickie, Pell, Dayton (Arthur 87), Munns (Holman 58), Cranston, Waters (Morgan-Smith 80), Wright. Subs not used: Barthram, Kitscha, Lymn, Whitehead. Booked: Cranston, Downes. Att: 3,316. Ref: G Salisbury