Injury crisis up front for Martin O'Neill ahead of Ireland friendly against Slovakia

SoccerBy Sunday World
Kevin Doyle was injured early in the win over Switzerland on Friday
Kevin Doyle was injured early in the win over Switzerland on Friday

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has been left with just one fit striker for Tuesday's friendly against Slovakia after his injury toll took a turn for the worse.

Having already ruled out skipper Robbie Keane because of a niggling knee problem and Kevin Doyle after he underwent surgery to repair an horrific gash to his shin, O'Neill has now sent Jonathan Walters and Daryl Murphy back to their clubs.

Walters sat out Friday night's 1-0 friendly victory over Switzerland with a minor hamstring problem, while Murphy, who had replaced Doyle, limped off with a tight calf.

A spokesman for the Football Association of Ireland said: "Jonathan Walters, Daryl Murphy, and Kevin Doyle will be unavailable for the second of two March games following on from last Friday's 1-0 win over Switzerland.

"Murphy and Doyle both picked up injuries in that game, while Walters was not risked. Murphy and Walters have now returned to their clubs for assessment and management of injuries.

"Doyle will remain with the Ireland squad for ongoing medical management following surgery on a shin injury sustained in the first half of the Switzerland game."

Southampton's Shane Long is now O'Neill's only fit front man.