Paul Corry says that Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has had little luck since he took over the national team last year.

The Boys in Green are set to begin their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign on Wednesday against Serbia in Belgrade.

But there was more bad news yesterday when it was confirmed that goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, defender Kevin Long, midfielder Conor Hourihane and winger Callum O'Dowda had all been ruled out.

Regular shot stopper Darren Randolph was ruled out earlier this month with a hip problem.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland Corry wondered when Kenny might get some luck.

"I do feel for Stephen," he began.

"It feels like we're always patching up the squad, filling holes, and trying to get faces in to fill for injuries or Covid.

"It is a bit worrying. I was looking at the team that started the Slovakia game (Euro 2020 play-off) which was probably our best performance, to date, under Stephen Kenny.

"We're missing five players who started that night from the squad alone. That would give you an indication of how many bodies we're down."

While Ireland have played in two European Championships in the last decade, you have to got back to 2002 for their last World Cup appearance.

That was a senior squad partially built off an exceptional underage period in the late 1990s, but Corry says the current squad is yet to show that it can match the heights of some of the great Irish teams of the past.

"The goalkeeping situation is quite worrying in the sense that you're throwing Mark Travers into a huge game - he's only got two senior caps under his belt.

"The middle of the pitch is looking quite bare, and then you still have that old question of where the goal is going to come from.

"It's difficult; we've a patched up squad. I still think the [starting] XI we have will be competitive but it is going to be a massive test heading out to Belgrade."

Ireland last played in Belgrade in September 2016

The Republic also face Luxembourg in Dublin over the next seven days.

While supporters have shown an understanding of the difficulty of Kenny's job so far during his reign, former UCD and Shamrock Rovers midfielder Corry says that things could begin to turn quickly if the team don't pick up points this week.

"Stephen has been given time, and there has been patience from different stakeholders in Irish football because people want to see him do well.

"The Luxembourg game is a must-win. The first team goes through automatically, which I think we can say with confidence is going to be Portugal.

"Then it's going to be a fight for that second spot [and] the play-off. Serbia aren't what they used to be. They were beaten by Scotland recently in the European Championship qualifiers.

"So there is hope that we can go there and we can be competitive and grind it out. If somebody offered you a point now you'd absolutely snatch their hand off.

"We have to beat Luxembourg - for the group, for the camp, for Stephen's confidence. We've seen in previous campaigns that a good start is so important if you want to be in with an opportunity come the end of the campaign."

Follow Serbia v Republic of Ireland via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and RTÉ News app, watch live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player or listen to commentary on RTÉ 2fm's Game On