Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson out of England friendly

Kenny says pair have been unlucky after also missing recent games for Covid reasons

Republic of Ireland striker Aaron Connolly has been ruled out of the England, Wales and Bulgaria fixtures through injury.

The Brighton and Hove Albion forward will miss the three matches through an injury sustained in training on Tuesday and Preston North End striker Sean Maguire has been called up as a replacement.

West Brom attacker Callum Robinson has now been confirmed as the Covid-19 positive case in the Ireland camp and will also miss the three matches.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Ireland manager Stephen Kenny dismissed the notion that he has been unlucky with injuries and, in particular, coronavirus-related setbacks, since taking over the Ireland job with the Dubliner pointing to the pandemic as a global issue with far more serious consequences for many of those affected.

“It’s the way of the world at the moment,” he said, when asked about the loss of Robinson for Thursday night’s England game following a positive test. “People say a vaccine is imminent with a 90 per cent success rate so hopefully this is all temporary.

“He (Robinson) wasn’t unwell but he tested positive in the first round of tests so it’s just unfortunate for him really.

“I’m disappointed for him because between this and being a ‘close contact’ last month, it has probably cost him five games for Ireland.

“They (he and Connolly, who is ruled out of this window with a hamstring problem) are disappointed but these are still three great games for us to be involved with.”

Connolly, he said, had picked up his injury in training. “The frustrating part of Aaron’s injury is that it’s only a grade one hamstring strain. It’s very minor and will only keep him out for 10 days but the reality is that we have three games in those 10 days.”

Kenny sought to call up Shane Long, he confirmed, but the Southampton striker was unavailable himself due to injury after having apparently been involved in a collision with a club mate in training.

Derrick Williams and Jonny Hayes were both ruled out too when the manager looked around for a left-back to draft in after losing Enda Stevens and so Kenny has called up Ryan Manning despite the fact that the Galwayman has played very little first team football this season.

“He had a very good campaign last year at QPR but then because he was moving, he got frozen out. Since going to Swansea, he’s only had 70 minutes but he has got a lot of training in.”

Meanwhile, Kenny said Harry Arter is a doubt for the Wembley game with an injury threatening to rule him out of yet another Ireland game.

“Harry has a little issue with his calf,” said Kenny of the problem, which appears to have been behind the midfielder’s absence from the Championship games at Luton and Middlesbrough although he did come on in last weekend in Forest’s win over Wycombe. “We’ll have a look at it and see how he is.”

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