Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has been rated as doubtful to face Armenia in Tuesday’s decisive Euro 2012 qualifier.
Keane had a scan on his abductor muscle on Saturday after complaining of soreness following Ireland’s 2-0 win over Andorra on Friday.
Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli admits the LA Galaxy striker — Ireland’s record scorer with 51 goals — has been struggling with the problem since his last MLS match in America.
Tardelli believes there is still a chance Keane could recover but he concedes the former Tottenham star is a major doubt for a fixture which will decide if Giovanni Trapattoni’s side clinch a place in the Euro 2012 play-offs.
Ireland need a draw at the Aviva Stadium to stop third placed Armenia overtaking them and Tardelli said: “Robbie has a little problem, but we are hopeful he will recover. It will be very difficult, but we are hopeful.”
Keane and his team-mates endured a gruelling trip back from Andorra, which involved a three-hour coach journey from the Pyrenean principality to Barcelona and then a delayed flight of almost the same length, eventually arriving back in Dublin early on Saturday morning.
The majority of the squad, with Keane the most high-profile exception, were back in training on Sunday.
Among them was Stoke striker Jonathan Walters, who met up with his colleagues on their return after missing the trip to Andorra with an ankle injury.
Walters and West Brom pair Shane Long and Simon Cox are the leading candidates to partner Kevin Doyle if Keane is sidelined.
“We have many options. We have Walters, Long, Cox – we have many options,” Tardelli added.
“We are confident in all our players. We have different solutions, but we will wait and see.”