Staunton waits on injured stars
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Steve Staunton is anxiously awaiting fitness updates on several of his stars.
Steve Staunton is anxiously awaiting fitness updates on several of his Republic of Ireland stars.
Damien Duff, Paddy Kenny and Stephen Elliott have all been included in Staunton's squad for next month's Euro 2008 qualifiers with Cyprus and Czech Republic despite being injured.
All three failed to feature for their respective clubs at the weekend, but Staunton is hopeful they may all be fit by next month.
"I spoke to Damien. He had a fitness test yesterday (Sunday) morning so with him only doing it on Saturday it can't have been that bad," said Staunton.
"But with muscle injuries you don't know and he'll have a scan today. We can only wait until the scan comes back, then we'll know more.
"I've been assured that Paddy could have played at the weekend but they didn't want to take that risk. I've been told he should be fit for next week.
"Again, with muscle injuries you don't know. They seem to think at Sheffield that he'll make a full recovery this week.
"Stephen Elliott is going to be touch and go. I've named him in the squad on the advice of the Sunderland physio that he might be right for the Czech Republic game.
"He's ahead of schedule with his own injury but it was a bad one and we'll know more after the impact of the running this week.
"You just pray that they're all fit come next Monday and Tuesday and take it from there. If they're not you get on with it and it gives somebody else an opportunity.
"We have to look forward and these players will only gain experience by playing. If they can cope with a difficult situation like this they can cope with most things."
Staunton also welcomed the news that retired trio Lee Carsley, Dean Kiely and Matt Holland would make themselves available for selection in case of an emergency.
"I haven't spoken to Matt Holland but it's great to hear," added Staunton. "I know the stories with Lee Carsley and Dean Kiely too.
"It tells me that we're doing something right if players are retired and want to come out of retirement but we've a nice blend of youth and experience built and they'll be given their opportunity.
"It's nice to know that if an emergency arises they're willing to play. Lee said he wants to play and if he's not playing doesn't want to be around. I do know if I need him that he's there.
"Graham Kavanagh plays a similar role and has done well. At the moment he's just ahead of Lee in my thoughts."