Republic of Ireland striker Noel Hunt has been ruled out of next month's World Cup playoffs with France having undergone a knee operation that may well see him sidelined for the rest of the season.
Hunt's club Reading said today that the 26-year-old underwent the operation with a London specialist yesterday evening.
"Hunt has been struggling with the injury since the back end of last season and suffered a reoccurrence of the problem after he made his debut for his country earlier this month," the club said in a statement on its website www.readingfc.co.uk.
Insisting that the operation would see him return to full fitness, the club said it would monitor his progress during the coming weeks.
Royals' boss Brendan Rodgers however told the Reading Post that the procedure would "probably rule him out for the rest of the season.”
Hunt's Ireland and Reading teammate Darren O'Dea is back in training with the Royals, who also have Shane Long up front.
Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is set to name his squad for France games, in Croke Park on November 14 and Paris on November 18, tomorrow afternoon.