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Northern Ireland injury blow as Liam Donnelly set to miss Euro play-off


Liam Donnelly

Liam Donnelly

Liam Donnelly

Northern Ireland midfielder Liam Donnelly is set to miss the upcoming Nations League double-header as well as the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in October.

The Motherwell man is due to see a specialist for a full prognosis on a knee injury picked up at the start of the new Scottish Premiership season although it is expected to keep him on the sidelines until at least mid-October.

Donnelly only has two senior caps for Northern Ireland but last season enjoyed a fruitful campaign at club level, scoring 11 goals and playing a key role in Motherwell's third-place finish.

At 24, Donnelly's rise provides another option in midfield at international level and there's little doubt he would have played a part in Ian Baraclough's first games in charge.

The former U21 boss, who named Donnelly as captain of his underage side, leads Northern Ireland into a Nations League double-header at the start of September, with a trip to Romania on the 4th followed by a home game against Norway three days later.

Those are key warm-up matches for the all-important Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Bosnia & Herzegovina, slated for October 8 in Zenica.

Should Northern Ireland make it through to the decider at home to either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland, Donnelly will hope to be fit for that game on November 12.

The injury is, of course, a blow to Stephen Robinson's Motherwell, who have lost their opening two games of the new campaign.

It will ensure he sits out the club's first European tie since 2015, when they host either Glentoran or HB Torshavn in the Europa League first qualifying round on August 27.

"It's a knee problem, he will go to the specialist today and get a proper diagnosis," said Well boss Robinson.

"We are not sure if he needs surgery but it will be a minimum of eight weeks, probably a little bit longer."

With the versatile Donnelly's injury coming on top of injuries for three left-sided defenders, Robinson added: "We are actively looking to try and get someone in in that defensive position."

Belfast Telegraph