Shane Duffy is an injury concern ahead of Georgia qualifier
‘The scan is a precaution and he says that he is fine but if he isn’t then I’ve other options’
Shane Duffy receives treatment in the win over Gibraltar. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Shane Duffy is Mick McCarthy’s major concern ahead of the European Championship qualifier against Georgia on Tuesday evening with the Derry born central defender forced to sit out Monday morning’s squad training session due to a swollen ankle.
The 27 year-old has been sent for a scan to assess the seriousness of the situation but at his pre-match press conference, McCarthy said he remains confident that the Brighton player will be fit to feature as Ireland to look to build a bit of early momentum by securing a second straight win.
“Look, he’s a big tough fella and he says that he is fine, but I’ve said that before and it doesn’t always turn out that way,” he said. “The scan is a precaution and he says that he is fine but if he isn’t then I have other options. I don’t think that it is anything serious.
McCarthy made no bones about the fact that he is wary of the Georgians who have run Ireland very close on a few occasions over the past. The two teams go into the game off the back of contrasting results at the weekend but the 60 year-old is not reading too much into the respective displays.
“I’ve seen them play, they are a very good side,” he says of the side managed by Vladimir Weiss. “I saw them beaten by Switzerland at the weekend but Switzerland were just a better side; it doesn’t mean that they are not a good side, they are.
“I’ve started with a pretty ordinary performance but got three points and it’s the same three points we would have got if we had been fabulous. We are at home for this game now, though, and we have to make the most of whatever advantages that we have if we are going to beat them.
“What we want is a fast and aggressive Irish performance that everyone can appreciate,” he continued. “It’s not going to be easy because they will be hard to play against but whatever happens, after it all, I’ll still take a win. Because we have seven more games in our attempt to qualify for the European Championships.”
McCarthy said that there was nothing he could do if supporters wanted to protest about the way that the FAI is being run but, he made it clear, he feels the failure of the fans to get completely behind the team on the night is not going to make a win more likely.
“We’ve come into play a game and that’s my issue,” he said when asked about the governance issues themselves. “I don’t get involved with things like that that I can’t affect. What I can affect is the game so I’ve come in here and work to get a good performance.
“I’ve been at games, though, at Charlton, when they (supporters’ protests) have gone on and it’s not going to help us play, that’s for sure. They want us to win, so why not let us play without outside influences but,” he added in reference to suggestions that fans might throw tennis balls onto the pitch, “there’s not much I can do about bar bring a tennis racket with me.”