Martin O'Neill faces selection headache before Ireland face Wales

O'Neill faces selection headache before Wales test
By PA Sport

20/03/2017 at 12:27Updated 20/03/2017 at 13:35

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill began preparations for the World Cup qualifier against Wales with a major selection headache threatening to disrupt his plans.

With star man Robbie Brady already suspended for Friday night's showdown at the Aviva Stadium, O'Neill has seen first-choice central defensive pairing Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark, as well as midfielder Harry Arter, succumb to injury.

And as the Republic squad trained for the first time in Abbotstown on Monday morning, he was keeping his fingers crossed over a series of other concerns.

Seamus Coleman and Jonathan Hayes were both nursing ankle problems, but are expected to be fit, although news of Daryl Murphy and Wes Hoolahan was not so encouraging.

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Newcastle striker Murphy was due to have a scan on a calf problem in Dublin, while Hoolahan's muscle strain was being assessed by club Norwich.

Everton midfielder James McCarthy, who has missed his club's last two games with a hamstring injury, was due to meet up later on Monday, as was Colorado Rapids striker Kevin Doyle.

Unbeaten Ireland currently top Group D with 10 points from their opening four qualifiers with the Welsh four points behind in third place.