IRELAND will most likely be without captain Robbie Keane for tonight’s World Cup Qualifier against Germany in Cologne, due to an ankle injury he sustained in training earlier this week.
Interim manager Noel King said that Keane had missed training at the Rhein Energy Stadium on Thursday night “as a precaution” and that a final decision would be made this morning, but the chances of the striker being named in the line-up remain doubtful.
King added: “We’ll make the decision in the morning. We’ll know straight away. Robbie has been one of our leading lights, one of the leading scorers in Europe, and if he doesn’t make it we won’t be happy. But we’d get on with it.”
Anthony Stokes, Kevin Doyle and Shane Long could be potential replacements for Keane if he is unable to play, but at last night’s press pre-match conference King had not yet made a decision and said, “I’m working on an idea in my head.”
Keane has amassed 60 goals in 129 appearances for Ireland, and is the nation’s leading goal scorer.
The visiting team are also without Richard Dunne and John O’Shea through suspension.
Germany are missing nine players due to injury: Marco Reus, Lukas Podolski, Marcel Schmelzer, Ilkay Gündogan, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Holger Badstuber and brothers, Lars and Sven Bender, but Joachim Löw’s side still have strength in options.
The home team only need one point to secure automatic qualification for the finals next summer, so all eyes will be on King later today when he announces his selection that will aim to challenge Germany’s top spot in Group C.
If the LA Galaxy frontman is unable to play tonight, it will be hoped that he will recover in time to face Kazakhstan in Dublin on Tuesday evening.