By Liam Mackey
Martin O’Neill says that Seamus Coleman’s fitness is being assessed day by day, as the Irish management look to give the Everton man every chance of making, if not Thursday’s game against Scotland, then Sunday’s final Euro qualifier away to Poland in Warsaw.
While the Irish squad trained at Abbotstown this morning, Coleman was on an adjacent pitch doing some running with a physio as he continues work on recovering from the hamstring problem which has kept him out of the Everton side for four weeks.
"Seamus has done a little bit of work with the physio and the doctor today," said O'Neill.
"Obviously he’s very, very keen to play if he can but we’ll see. It’s a day by day thing. He’s getting better every single day and even though he wasn’t involved with Everton. We’ll have a look at him, see how he’s getting on and, as I say, assess it day by day.”
O’Neill said he hadn’t heard Everton manager Roberto Martinez' suggestion that he didn’t think Coleman would be ready for international duty.
"That’s news to me”, he said - and insisted that, even if the player doesn’t make the Germany game, he could still be fit for the match away to the Poles.
“Yeah, we did that the last time,” O’Neill pointed out. “Seamus felt a bit sore, his hamstring was a bit tight and so he missed out on Gibraltar and Cyrus (Christie) came in and played very ,very well. Then Seamus came in for the second game but had he been right for the first match then - despite the fact that Cyrus played brilliantly for us - Seamus probably would have played in that game which was the next important game for us at the time.”
As it happens, Derby’s Christie also sat out training this morning, as a precaution for a recurring hip and groin-related problem, although he was able to perform impressively for his club against Brentford at the weekend, with O’Neill in attendance.
“He did, he played very well in the match as did they all, all three (Irish players),” said the manager.
“I thought Jeff (Hendrick) played very well, particularly in the first half and I thought Richard (Keogh) came through with flying colours. So all three played well.
"Cyrus himself didn’t train today, he just felt he had a little problem with his groin but hopefully he will be alright for selection. He thinks he should be alright but we’ll see how it goes.”
Assessing Thursday night’s opposition at the Aviva, O’Neill said of the world champions: “They’re very strong, naturally. They’re getting back to winning ways. They’ve had what they might consider a couple of hiccups along the way, including one against us.
"But we know what we have to do. It’s a very difficult game for us but we’re capable. We have to go with all the enthusiasm and determination that that brings.
"We’ve got a bit of ability as well. They are class players as is proven by them having won the World Cup just over 15 months ago, and it will be a tough night for us. But we’re ready for it."