When discussing his latest squad, Martin O’Neill made special mention of Ciaran Clark after he was substituted on Saturday against Fulham.

Newcastle United’s player of the season was forced from the action, with Rafa Benitez going for a makeshift Lascelles/Dummett partnership and putting Jesus Gamez at left-back, despite having Scottish international centre-back Grant Hanley on the bench.

After the game Rafa Benitez referred to the Ciaran Clark injury as a ‘knock’ and said they would have to wait and see.

However, Martin O’Neill understands that it was ‘just precautionary’ when Clark was subbed, to protect against any aggravation of the knock.

Hopefully this indicates that there is nothing to worry about as surely the grapevine would have informed O’Neill if it was more serious, especially with him having the likes of Clark’s teammates Rob Elliot and Daryl Murphy also in the squad.

Martin O’Neill:

“Shane Duffy is a big injury blow to for us – he has been playing really well for his club.

“I’m hoping that Ciaran Clark’s injury is not that serious.

“I don’t know for sure but I don’t think it is, I think it (subbed against Fulham) was just precautionary.”

Ciaran Clark has been magnificent this season and held the defence together single-handedly on many occasions. Clark is as important at the back as Shelvey is in midfield and Gayle is up front.

Provisional Republic of Ireland Squad to play World Cup qualifier v Wales and friendly v Iceland:

Colin Doyle (Bradford City), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday); Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (all Derby County), Paul McShane (Reading), Andy Boyle (Preston North End), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), John Egan (Brentford), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers); Aiden McGeady, Daryl Horgan (both Preston North End), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady (both Burnley), David Meyler (Hull City), Liam Kelly (Reading), Darron Gibson (Sunderland), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O’Kane (Leeds United), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff City), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion); Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Shane Long (Southampton), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle United), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City)

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