Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given has been struggling with a groin injury of late, but the Irishman is still optimistic of being fit for Ireland’s qualifier with Wales. The newcastle goalkeeper linked up today with his international team-mates.
Shay is now expected to be fit for Saturday’s final European 2008 qualifier in Wales, and it looks likely he will play, even though Ireland cannot now qualify for the Finals next summer.
Shay Given - expected to be fit to play against Wales on Saturday
Irelandâ€™s caretaker manager Don Givens says it will be a big boost for the Irish squad to have Shay available. Givens told Sky Sports News today:
“Shay is arriving this evening and is very, very optimistic, so it’s great news for us,”
“He will be arriving from Newcastle with Bobby Robson, and we are looking forward to that, as it will be a big boost to the squad to have Shay.”
“Shay is vital psychologically for everybody. It’s a great boost to know he’s in the goal. Obviously he’s one of the top keepers and is a big, big player for us.”
Givens also revealed that Leeds midfielder Douglas will not be joining up with the squad after picking up a hamstring injury yesterday, but that Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt and Sunderland defender Paul McShane are both expected to be fit to play against Wales.
“Stephen Hunt and Paul McShane, it was just a precaution that they didn’t train this morning.”
“Jonathan Douglas won’t be joining us. He did a hamstring playing for Leeds.”Â “That’s the situation at the moment, everything else is fine.”
“The little knocks we had yesterday – Robbie (Keane), Kevin Doyle – have cleared up, so touch wood, we should be okay now.”
This will give Shay a little match practice, and it looks like he will be in the frame for Newcastle’s vital home league game against Liverpool a week on Saturday. It will again be interesting to see who Sam selects between Stephen Harper and Shay, after Stephen had a good game last Saturday against Sunderland.