John O’Shea has been named in the Republic of Ireland’s squad for their upcoming European Championship play-offs – but he remains a huge doubt after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury.
Sunderland skipper O’Shea was due to return for the Black Cats against Southampton at the weekend after being sidelined for the previous weekend’s defeat at Everton.
But, after training on Thursday and Friday, O’Shea again felt the effects of the injury he suffered in the Wear-Tyne derby victory over Newcastle a fortnight ago.
O’Shea is suspended for Ireland’s Euro 2016 play-off first leg against Bosnia on Friday night anyway, but the door remains ajar for him and fellow injury victim Shane Long.
Boss Martin O’Neill last night named the pair in a reduced 30-man squad last night, with five, including O’Shea, to be assessed by their clubs before reporting for duty in Dublin.
Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot, who starred in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League victory at Bournemouth despite nursing a thigh problem, Reading’s ex-Sunderland defender Paul McShane and Brentford midfielder Alan Judge are the others.
Goalkeeper Shay Given and forward David McGoldrick have already been ruled out by injury, while fellow frontman Jonathan Walters will also sit out the away game after collecting his third booking of the campaign against the Poles.
After Saturday’s defeat, Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said 34-year-old O’Shea will miss the second leg too.
Allardyce said: “No, I don’t think (he’ll be available), but he will be talking to them.
“I wouldn’t think he’ll be anywhere near available for Ireland.
“He hasn’t been able to get fit for us in two weeks, so he’s not going to get fit from a hamstring in 10 days.
“He got through training alright, was selected to play, but felt it on the morning of the game.
“But I have to say, we didn’t miss John O’Shea. Our defending was very, very good.”
Ireland squad: David Forde (Millwall), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (West Ham), Rob Elliot (Newcastle), Richard Keogh (Derby), Marc Wilson (Stoke), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Derby), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Alex Pearce (Derby), Shane Duffy (Blackburn ), Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa), Paul McShane (Reading), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Robbie Brady (Norwich), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick (Derby), Darron Gibson (Everton), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Aiden McGeady (Everton), James McClean (West Brom), Alan Judge (Brentford), David Meyler (Hull), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Ipswich), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids).