John Egan has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland's opening World Cup qualifiers after his club revealed that he will need surgery on a dislocated toe.
Egan was stretchered off during Sheffield United's defeat against West Ham United on Monday, after hurting himself in a collision with Jesse Lingard.
In the aftermath of that game United boss Chris Wilder warned that the injury looked to be a serious one and so it has proved, with Wilder confirming that Egan will be out for eight weeks.
"He needs an operation on a dislocated toe," the Blades boss revealed. "It's a situation where John's gone to block a shot and we knew he was in trouble straightaway. It’s a big blow to lose him for eight weeks.
"I do feel we’ve been cursed with injuries. I feel for the medical staff, they’ve been outstanding for two or three years.
"We've had big injuries that have hurt us, there was talk about overplaying and muscle injuries but we’ve had few of them. We’ve had John Fleck falling and breaking his back, Jack O’Connell colliding with Dean Henderson, Oli McBurnie falling and hurting his shoulder and now John Egan hurting himself making a tackle."
Egan is now set to miss Ireland's opening World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Serbia on 24 March along with the clash against Luxemburg three days later, on 27 March.
Stephen Kenny has previously spoken about his defence as one of the best in Europe, but he is now coping with Egan's injury, Shane Duffy's loss of form at Celtic, as well as lack of game time for Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty at Everton and Spurs respectively.
Ciaran Clark's return to the Newcastle first team may put him at the front of the queue to replace Egan, while West Brom's Dara O'Shea and Burnley's Kevin Long other top flight options.
Stoke City's Nathan Collins is also set for an extended period on the sidelines after it was confirmed that he fractured a bone his left foot in Saturday's defeat to Norwich.