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Keane doubtful for Armenia clash

Skipper Robbie Keane is a major doubt for Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier against Armenia on Tuesday evening.

The 31-year-old was sent for a scan after complaining of soreness in his abductor muscle following his return from Friday night's 2-0 victory in Andorra, although manager Giovanni Trapattoni suggested that was precautionary. But the Football Association of Ireland on Saturday evening confirmed that his participation in the game could be under threat.

A spokesman said: "Following a medical update after training, Giovanni Trapattoni has said that Robbie Keane is a strong doubt ahead of Tuesday's match against Armenia."

If Keane does not make it, that will represent a huge blow to Ireland as they attempt to claim the point they need to book a play-off place.

The LA Galaxy frontman is his country's record international scorer with 51 goals, although he passed up a series of chances to add to his tally on Friday night.

Keane has embarked upon a series of gruelling trans-Atlantic journeys to play for Ireland since heading to the United States, although he insisted earlier this week that he is feeling no ill effects.

One positive for Trapattoni is that his preferred strike-partner for his skipper, Kevin Doyle, looked to be back to his best on Friday after regaining his match sharpness following a knee problem, while Jonathan Walters also linked up with the squad on Saturday after recovering from an ankle injury.

The free-scoring Armenians stand between Trapattoni's Ireland and a place in the play-offs in after Russia effectively ended their hopes of snatching automatic qualification by beating Slovakia.

Should the Russians beat Andorra in Moscow on Tuesday, even victory for the Irish will secure only second place in Group B.

Barring a shock of monumental proportions, Trapattoni's men seem likely to have to be satisfied with yet another play-off adventure, and a point against Armenia would keep the group's dark horses at bay.


From Belfast Telegraph