Mick McCarthy is almost certain to be without Ciaran Clark for next month’s Euro play-off after the Newcastle United left the Emirates on crutches on Sunday.
The 32-times capped defender was taken off seven minutes from the end of their 4-0 defeat to Arsenal following a heavy challenge from Bukayo Saka.
Magpies boss Steve Bruce expressed his fears over Clark’s ankle injury and his anxiety will be shared by the Ireland manager.
McCarthy is already sweating on James McClean’s availability for the trip to Slovakia on March 26.
"He's got a bad one," Bruce said of Clark.
"It doesn’t look good. By the state of his ankle it looks pretty serious. We’ll know more in next 24-48 hours.
"It doesn’t look great, the state of his ankle, leaving the ground on crutches. I can’t say now how bad it is but it’s bad enough."
Clark would have been confident of challenging for a starting slot in Bratislava. Having nailed down a regular Premier League spot, he has worthy claims of dislodging Shane Duffy, who is struggling to get into Brighton and Hove Albion’s starting team.
The Newcastle centre-back played his first competitive football for McCarthy as an interval substitute for John Egan in the November draw against Denmark.