Glenn Whelan set for midfield spot as Darron Gibson ruled out

Martin O’Neill will be even more relieved to see Glenn Whelan come through another day’s training in light of the news that Darron Gibson is out of contention for the game against Poland.

Troubled by a persistent groin problem, Gibson returned to Everton for treatment yesterday, meaning that, barring any further injury setbacks, it now looks a certainty that Whelan will resume his central midfield partnership with James McCarthy on Sunday.

Stoke City’s Whelan didn’t play for his club at the weekend, nursing what was described as a “tight hamstring” but, yesterday, Roy Keane was inclined to make light of that diagnosis.

“Glenn’s trained today and he should be alright,” said the Assistant Manager. “ I think most players should have tight hamstrings, especially if you play in midfield, so that should not be a concern.”

James McClean also announced himself ”100 per cent” fit for the fray, although he followed medical advice by sitting out yesterday’s training session at the Aviva Stadium to give his ankle knock more time to recover.

But, Stephen Ward, whose own ankle problem appears to be decidedly more complicated, was rated no better than “touch and go” for Sunday by Keane.

Meawhile, Wes Hoolahan left the pitch with one boot off yesterday but, again, Keane was playing down the significance of the knock.

“There are places up for grabs and players will get knocks in training, it’s not chess we’re playing,” he pointed out. “He’ll be okay.”

Whether the Norwich schemer gets to feature on Sunday is another matter, however.

“Wes has done well for us since we’ve come in and hopefully he will have a role to play but we will see over the next few days,” said Keane. “I’m sure if Wes starts he wont let us down, he never has.”


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