Injury rules Duffy out of crucial Ireland World Cup qualifier against Wales

Brighton defender Shane Duffy will miss the Republic of Ireland’s crucial upcoming World Cup qualifier against Wales after sustaining a foot injury.

The 25-year-old fractured a metatarsal bone in his foot in Brighton’s 3-0 Championship defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday and is set to undergo surgery, meaning that he will be out of action for six weeks at least.

Ireland welcome Wales to Dublin on March 24 as the pair renew their qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“He’s fractured his fifth metatarsal and will have an operation probably tomorrow,” Brighton manager Chris Hughton said on Monday.

“We’re probably looking at a minimum of six weeks. He’s a big loss.”

Following confirmation of the injury, which will see the defender ruled out for seven Brighton fixtures, Duffy posted on his Twitter page thanking supporters for their messages of support and vowed to come back stronger “for a big push” at the end of the season.

Duffy had recently established himself as a first-choice centre back for Ireland, coming to the fore at Euro 2016 in France, but the former Everton and Blackburn Rovers man will now have to wait to add to his eight senior caps.

Martin O’Neill will be forced to consider his defensive options in Duffy’s absence, with Derby County duo Richard Keogh and Alex Pearce, as well as Reading captain Paul McShane and Sunderland’s John O’Shea, among those in contention to partner Ciarán Clark at the heart of defence.

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