Jonathan Walters admits that the Republic of Ireland's injury list ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Wales is daunting but he believes that the team have proven that they thrive on adversity.

Wes Hoolahan (thigh) today became the latest player to be ruled out of Friday's clash at the Aviva (7.45pm, live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ 2fm), joining a lengthy roll of absentees that also includes central defenders Shane Duffy (foot) and Ciaran Clarke (knee) and fellow midfielder Harry Arter (calf).

Newly crowned FAI Player of the Year Robbie Brady is suspended, while there are also doubts over the fitness of James McCarthy and Daryl Murphy.

However, Walters is back in contention after missing several games for Stoke due to knee surgery.

"It's difficult to take when there are so many," Walters told RTÉ Sport.

"Some good players are missing. But that's what big squads are for and I'm sure we'll cope. 

"It's just part and parcel of what you've got to deal with through the campaign.

"They are big blows, they're very good players that we'll miss, but we have young lads coming in and stepping up to the mark and players that have played in the Premier League week in, week out.

"It's a difficult situation to be in with the injuries but one you've got to deal with.

"Over the last few years we've been underdogs in a lot of games and got the result.

"We showed that in the summer; it was such a difficult group to get out of in the Euros and we did."

With four games gone in the campaign to qualify for Russia 2018, Ireland are in the somewhat unfamiliar position of topping the group, four points ahead of Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales.

The Stoke forward is delighted with the confidence the team appears to have garnered from their performances in France but highlights the twists in the qualifying campaign to get there as a warning against complacency.

"I think we should be confident because we have some excellent players in the team and over the past 12-18 months some of the young players have come to the forefront," he said.

"We've shown it in the campaign so far. We were probably one of the lesser favourites to get out of another difficult group.

"Four games in, we're sitting pretty at the moment. We're only at the half-way point at the moment, hopefully we can be where we are looking down but it's only early stages. So we can't get too far ahead of ourselves. 

"The pressure is probably more on them with how the group sits at the moment.

"If we look back to the last qualifying campaign, we were in Wales' situation. We ended up getting beaten by Scotland and people wrote us off but in the end we came through and qualified."

Two teams almost completely made up of players plying their trade in England will give Friday's game a derby feel.

Walters is well aware of the talent of the likes of Gareth Bale and Stoke team-mate Joe Allen but he's backing his side to get a result.

"Everyone will know everyone and there will be a lot of homework done on both teams," he said. "There are some team-mates in the team. 

"We all know they have players on their team that can hurt us. There's a lot of quality in there.

"It's a difficult game, there are some very good players in that team. But hopefully we can draw on those experiences (of the Euros).

"We'll prepare right this week and hopefully get the result we want."