Republic of Ireland coach Roy Keane sweats over Jon Walters' fitness
Last Updated: 30/08/17 11:09am
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane is keeping his fingers crossed that striker Jonathan Walters will be fit for the World Cup Qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia.
The Burnley striker has been unable to train with the Irish squad as he nurses the ankle problem which kept him out of Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Tottenham.
Walters, whose late goal secured Ireland a 1-1 draw with Austria that kept their hopes of qualification for the World Cup on track, is seen by Keane as a leader on and off the park.
The Irish are level with Serbia at the top of Group D after six qualifying games and travel to Tbilisi to take on Georgia on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football, before what could be a group-deciding game three days later when Serbia visit the Aviva Stadium.
Keane said: "Jon is a very important player in the dressing room, he's a leader. Fingers crossed he is fit.
"It's a long way to travel but that won't be any excuse. It's the same for everyone, we're well looked after.
"I don't want any players picking up daft cards but you've got to be up for it. Focus on Saturday, it's like a normal week.
"We've played Georgia several times over the last few years and it has always been tough. We're positive though.
"It's been great, the journey's been fantastic. I'm really enjoying the job and hungry to get success for Ireland."
Midfielders Jeff Hendrick (thigh) and James McCarthy (hamstring) are ruled out of the qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia.
Fellow midfielder Eunan O'Kane has since returned to Leeds to continue treatment for an ongoing groin injury, and Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has trained on his own after being forced off against Burton at the weekend.