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Martin O'Neill urges stars to stand tall amid injury headache

By Staff Reporter

Martin O'Neill has challenged the Republic of Ireland to come out fighting as an injury crisis threatens to engulf them ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Wales.

Already without the suspended Robbie Brady for Friday's Group D clash at the Aviva, O'Neill yesterday saw playmaker Wes Hoolahan added to a casualty list which includes defenders Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark, and midfielder Harry Arter.

Everton's James McCarthy and Newcastle's Daryl Murphy could miss out too. Asked for an injury update, the frustrated Ulsterman said: "How long have you got? It's the lengthiest list of injuries I have known, and unfortunately it's happened at a really crucial time. However, other players will have to step up and just be ready.

"The irony of all of this here is that way back when Gareth Bale got injured in November-time, everybody was talking about Wales possibly having one of their major players out, and it turns out that we are the ones who are doing the suffering."

The Republic head into the game sitting at the top of Group D and four points better off than Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales. O'Neill added: "Wales will not feel as if they're out of it. Their own experiences of the Euros will stand them in good stead.

"This game has come at a time when we've had to look at major players being out, but we'll go at it with as much gusto as possible."

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