Wolves wing back Matt Doherty is set for a spell on the sidelines to have a minor knee operation.
The 27-year-old has missed the last two games against Torino and Everton and has now been withdrawn from Ireland duty for their forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland on Thursday and the Three International Friendly with Bulgaria on Tuesday, September 10.
Molineux head coach Nuno Espirito Santo said after Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Goodison: “He’s going to stay with us (instead of international duty). He has to have a small surgery. It’s something that is bothering him.”
Nuno is unsure how long Doherty, who is the club’s longest serving player, is going to be out for. “I don’t know,” he added. “We’ve been speaking about Matt for a while.
“What we have to do is keep giving him time to recover, let him get rid of the pain he has in the knee and then get him back to fitness. Then he’s ready to go again.”
Doherty suffered the injury in a training game against Huddersfield in a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly some six weeks ago. The Ireland defender, who has played 256 games for Wolves after joining them for a bargain £75,000 from Bohemians in July 2010, played the first three Premier League games of the season. But he was taken off at half-time of the 1-1 draw against Manchester United after looking below par and has only figured in one of the six Europa League games so far.
Doherty’s place was again taken by Adama Traore on Merseyside and the Spaniard responded with a mixed afternoon. He superbly created Romain Saiss’s equaliser to make it 1-1 but then was caught ball watching as Alex Iwobi – the man he should have been marking – headed home Everton’s second.
Fulham defender Cyrus Christie has taken Doherty’s place in Mick McCarthy’s Ireland squad, while Luton Town striker James Collins and Burton Albion goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara replace the injured Sean Maguire (eye) and Keiren Westwood (knee) for the Dublin double-header at the Aviva Stadium. Crystal Palace midfielder James McCarthy is also out of the two games after his first call-up.
“I have spoken at length to James (McCarthy). He has recently moved to Crystal Palace and is only back playing,” said Ireland’s former Wolves manager McCarthy.
Preston striker Maguire suffered a freak injury when he was struck in the face by a ball at training last week and missed Saturday’s draw at Nottingham Forest.
“It is hard on the four players to miss out for a game as big as the Switzerland match,” added manager McCarthy. “We have a 24-strong squad now with James, Cyrus and Kieran coming in and we will get to work on Monday.”
The Ireland squad assembled at the team base in Dublin on Sunday afternoon and will begin training at the FAI National Training Centre on Monday.
Midlands-connected players in McCarthy’s squad are Middlesbrough’s former Birmingham goalkeeper Darren Randolph, O’Hara, who is on loan from Manchester United, ex-Derby right back Christie and Sheffield United’s ex-Villa left back Enda Stevens.
Other players with Midlands links are ex-Derby midfielder Jeff Hendrick – now at Burnley – Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane, Hearts’ ex-Villa and Stoke man Glenn Whelan, Stoke’s ex-Albion winger James McClean, Sheffield United forward Callum Robinson and Collins – who both started at Villa, while the latter was a prolific scorer for Shrewsbury Town – Scott Hogan, who is at Stoke on loan from Villa, and David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), who started his career with Notts County and has also played for Nottingham Forest and Coventry.