Injuries pile up for Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill is taking nothing for granted ahead of the World Cup qualifier double-header against Georgia and Moldova amid a deepening injury crisis.
The Republic launched their Group D campaign with a 2-2 draw in Serbia last month, but striker Daryl Murphy, whose late strike secured a point in Belgrade, heads a lengthy list of players who will either definitely miss or remain doubts for Thursday night's visit of the Georgians to Dublin and the trip to Chisinau which follows three days later.
O'Neill said: "A reasonably decent friend of mine who knows nothing about football spoke to me a few days ago and he mentioned, 'If you can put six points on the board...'. I nearly throttled him. It's not like that. These games are difficult for us."
The level of difficulty has risen markedly in tandem with a casualty list which looks likely to rob O'Neill of several players.
Newcastle's Murphy is out with a calf problem while goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has a thigh injury, as has Anthony Pilkington, who is expected to miss out along with fellow midfielder Stephen Quinn.
In addition, Aiden McGeady is struggling with a hamstring strain and striker Kevin Doyle is nursing a sore ankle.
Harry Arter has had a scan on a groin problem and O'Neill is awaiting an assessment.