Jeff Hendrick has emerged as a doubt for Ireland’s World Cup play-off with Denmark, however, manager Martin O’Neill is hopeful that the Burnley midfielder will be available for Saturday’s first leg in Copenhagen.
Hendrick played in his club’s 1-0 victory over Southampton at the weekend but was forced off after 60 minutes through injury, and as a result, sat out the light training session in Dublin this afternoon.
"Jeff came off after about 60-odd minutes in the game," said O’Neill, speaking at the post-training press conference. "He’s still a little bit sore at the moment. We’ll see how he is in the next few days.
"He’s still hopeful and it’s just a case of players being nursed through the next couple of days.
"Jeff was feeling his injury at the time, but he said he’s improving, so that’s good news."
And while the manager initially spoke about the player being "a little bit sore", following his weekend’s endeavours, O’Neill then revealed that if the match was tomorrow, that he would be a real concern.
To add to the intrigue, the Ireland manager was unwilling to divulge the extent of the injury or what part of the body is involved.
"Not really divulging it," said O’Neill, cautiously. "It’s a bit of a concern, but he’s improving.
"If the game was tomorrow morning, he might struggle, but we’ve a few days.
"He has got a bit of a problem but I am very hopeful he’ll be ok in the next couple of days, and more importantly, Jeff is."
And while Hendrick proved a key player for Ireland throughout the campaign, scoring away in Belgrade, before creating the goal that secured victory in Cardiff last month, the Ireland manager was naturally asked his thoughts about the form of Denmark danger man Christian Eriksen.
"Eriksen is a top-class player. He can elude tackles, he can manoeuvre the ball, he’s playing exceptionally well.
"He’s playing in a team at club-level that have just beaten Real Madrid in the Champions League. He’s a top-quality player and I think we have to give him the respect he deserves."
Ireland, like Denmark, found themselves in the same situation two years as they entered the play-offs to qualify for Euro 2016, and while O’Neill’s men recorded an impressive victory over Bosnia, Denmark were beaten by fellow Scandinavians, Sweden.
"They were disappointed, perhaps [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic was the difference between the two teams.
"But I think they’ve improved a great deal since then. They have some very talented players. Eriksen is obviously playing brilliantly for well over a year, possibly longer than that.
"It’ll be a similar approach to the game in Bosnia. We’ll desperately try to get something out of the game, keeping the tie alive is the most important thing and try to make it all to play for in Dublin.
"We need to try to get an away goal for a start, try to be positive. We have got to do it, we have to go and play."
Tony O'Donoghue reports from Abbotstown where Ireland have a few more injury worries ahead of their World Cup play-off. pic.twitter.com/rLYcaIiysz— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 6, 2017
O’Neill has faced plenty of criticism throughout the campaign about his side’s inability to retain possession, however, the manager accepts that his side have become accustomed to playing without the ball for periods of the game and he believes his team have become quite adept at dealing with such a scenario.
"There will be times that we have to play without the ball, but we’ve seen that umpteen times, we have to be able to deal with that for maybe a five, six, seven-minute spell against sides that are good at keeping it. We just have to stay in the game.
"But the players have learned that over the last couple of years and I think the performance against Wales epitomised a lot about the side.
"Now we have to try and find that again over the next two matches, otherwise, we won’t be good enough."
Live coverage of Denmark v Ireland on RTÉ 2 (7.25pm), live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport and live blog on RTÉ.ie from 6pm.