Whelan and Hoolahan likely to miss qualifier in Scotland

No sooner had he experienced the relief of seeing Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy back in action for Everton, than Martin O’Neill has suffered the double whammy of learning that Glenn Whelan and Wes Hoolahan look set to miss next month’s Euro qualifier away to Scotland.

Whelan and Hoolahan likely to miss qualifier in Scotland

The injury which forced Whelan out of the 1-1 draw with Germany has turned out to be a serious one, with his Stoke City manager Mark Hughes estimating the player could be out for four to six weeks, meaning that he would miss the game in Celtic Park on November 14.

“Glenn has unfortunately got a fracture in his leg,” Hughes revealed. “He got a kick on the outside of his leg and there’s slight fracture there. He hasn’t been put into plaster cast because Glenn feels he will get back sooner. But the likelihood is he will be out for four to six weeks, which is a blow because big part of what we are doing. And it’s blow for him because he’s been playing really well of late.”

Whelan, however, doesn’t appear to have given up hope of making the international cut.

“As for Ireland, knowing Glenn he’ll try and make himself available,” said Hughes, “but my feeling is the game will be too soon for him. You have to let nature take it course. With fractures you have to give them enough time to heal.”

Wes Hoolahan, who came off the bench to good effect in Gelsenkirchen, is also a major doubt with an injury he picked up playing for Norwich against Fulham.

“Wes is going to be out for a number of weeks,” said Canaries boss Neil Adams. “It’s ankle ligament damage, as we first feared. It’s a shame, but it’s going to be number of weeks before he’s back with us.”

Meanwhile, the coincidence of the two Irish sides being successfully managed by ‘M O’Neills’ is reflected in the latest Fifa standings which sees Martin’s Republic rise one place to 61 while being sensationally leapfrogged by Michael’s Northern Ireland, who move up a whopping 28 places to 43 on the back of their three-game winning start in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Despite their recent woes, world champions Germany remain top of the pile, followed by Argentina, Colombia and, attaining their highest ever position, Belgium.

The Irish Football Association expects to find out on Friday whether Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Romania next month will take place behind closed doors.

Crowd problems in Bucharest during the 1-1 draw against Hungary on October 11 resulted in proceedings being opened against both federations by Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary committee.

Romania were cited for crowd disturbances, the setting off/throwing of fireworks and missiles and the use of laser pointers as well as improper conduct of the team due to the number of yellow cards issued in a bad-tempered encounter. Five Romanians and seven Hungarians were booked by Scottish referee Willie Collum.

A full or partial stadium closure at the Arena Nationala for the visit of Michael O’Neill’s table-topping side on November 14 are potential measures that could be taken against the Romanian Football Federation, though a hefty fine may also be imposed instead.

With fans eager to book their travel arrangements, the IFA has been eager for the matter to be resolved but president Jim Shaw has not been able to lobby due to his seat on the Uefa disciplinary committee.

A short statement from the IFA yesterday read: “Uefa has informed the Irish FA that the Romania disciplinary case will be looked at tomorrow (Friday).”

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