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He kenny believe it Stephen Kenny has huge sympathy for covid-hit Callum Robinson and injured Aaron Connolly

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Aaron Connolly will miss the next three matches

Aaron Connolly will miss the next three matches

Aaron Connolly will miss the next three matches

Stephen Kenny says he has huge sympathy for Callum Robinson and Aaron Connolly after Covid-19 and injury ruled them out of the international triple header which starts with a test against England at Wembley on Thursday while Shane Long has also missed out on an Ireland recall due to injury.

But the Ireland boss, still searching for his first win after five games in charge of the senior side, has challenged his back-up strikers to make the most of their opportunity against England.

Kenny's plans for the three internationals last month were severely disrupted by the presence of Covid-19 in the camp. And 48 hours before the clash with England came confirmation of a positive test for West Brom player Robinson which rules him out.

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Callum Robinson is the player with covid-19

Callum Robinson is the player with covid-19

Callum Robinson is the player with covid-19

A hamstring problem forces Connolly to withdraw from the squad, Seani Maguire given a late call-up while Swansea City man Ryan Manning will, along with Jack Byrne, link up with the squad after the England game to prepare for the Nations League test in Cardiff.

Speaking ahead of the England game, Kenny dismissed the theory that the Ireland camp is cursed. "Absolutely not, this is the way of the world at the moment, we are talking about a vaccine being imminent, hopefully this situation is temporary," Kenny said.

"In Callum's case he tested positive in the first test, he wasn't feeling unwell and it's unfortunate. You have to deal with whatever comes your way.

"With Covid, there's nothing we can do, it's a problem throughout the world. I am disappointed for Callum as between being a close contact last time and this, it's cost him five starts. I'm disappointed for him as he was looking forward to this run of games. While we were disappointed he showed great dignity and he came in hugely determined to do well, he was really driven to do well and to wake up to the news that you tested positive is hard but there is nothing he can do."

Kenny had planned to call up Shane Long, omitted from the initial squad, but the veteran is "unavailable" after sustaining an injury in a collision at training with Southampton.

"It opens an opportunity for other players and it's interesting to see what that brings," Kenny added.

"To lose Aaron is very frustrating, Aaron wil be a terrific player for Ireland, he came in and the frustrating thing is that he is out for 10 days but it just happens that we have three games in that 10 days. It's a very minor grade hamstring strain that will only rule him out for a short time but it's unfortunate for Aaron.

"It opens opportunities, Adam Idah and Ronan Curtis and James Collins come into the picture."

Kenny would not confirm if captain Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty would both start but he added that Harry Arter is an injury concern with a calf strain.

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