Sunderland wait on O’Shea injury verdict

Sunderland's John O'Shea.
Sunderland's John O'Shea.
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SUNDERLAND will today seek clarification on the severity of John O’Shea’s injury after the Black Cats skipper limped off on Republic of Ireland duty last night.

O’Shea was forced off with an ankle problem four minutes into the second half of Ireland’s 1-0 defeat in Austria – a result which essentially ended their hopes of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup.

The 32-year-old misses Saturday’s visit of Arsenal anyway through suspension after collecting a one-game ban for his red card in Sunderland’s last Premier League outing at Crystal Palace.

But Paolo Di Canio will be concerned that O’Shea could be out for any longer, despite the centre-half’s costly error at Selhurst Park.

O’Shea has been an ever-present since Di Canio succeeded Martin O’Neill at the Sunderland helm and the head coach will have to decide between Carlos Cuellar or new signing Valentin Roberge to line up alongside Modibo Diakite against the Gunners.

Defeat for the Irish realistically proved to be the end of their qualification bid with second points now separating them from second-placed Sweden, who have a superior goal difference, with two games to go.

Sweden won in Kazakhstan earlier in the day, with Seb Larsson playing 70 minutes in the 1-0 victory.

O’Shea aside, Larsson was one of three Sunderland players who came through yesterday’s games unscathed.

David Vaughan was introduced in the 57th minute for Wales in their 3-0 defeat to Serbia.

And Emanuele Giaccherini was sacrificed at the interval for Southampton new boy Pablo Osvaldo, as Italy recovered from a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat the Czech Republic 2-1 – a result which secured the Azzuri’s World Cup qualification.

Keiren Westwood was an unused substitute for the Irish, while Ji Dong-won was confined to the bench in South Korea’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Croatia.