Norwich City keeping fingers crossed over Anthony Pilkington injury scare

Anthony Pilkington has been forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad.

Anthony Pilkington has been forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City boss Chris Hughton was handed an injury scare ahead of his side's tough trip to Arsenal at the weekend when Anthony Pilkington was forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad.

The in-form midfielder, on target for the Canaries in their previous Premier League encounter against Chelsea, remained on the bench as the Republic lost 3-0 in Germany on Friday evening – and has now been ruled out of tomorrow's clash with Kazakhstan in Dublin.

It was been reported that Pilkington was allowed to return to Carrow Road for treatment – although the nature of the injury, and how serious it might be, are unclear.

The Canaries will be keeping their fingers crossed that is the sort of minor problem that would not be risked in a match that has nothing riding on it, with the defeat in Cologne ending any slim mathematical hopes the Irish had of making it into the World Cup play-offs.

While Pilkington's international career continues to be a stop-start affair due to injuries his City colleague Wes Hoolahan is fighting fit, having missed out altogether against Chelsea, and looks set to start his country's final qualifying game.

Swedish pair Martin Olsson and Johan Elmander were in the spotlight for very different reasons as their country secured a play-off place with a hard-fought 2-1 home victory over Austria on Friday evening.

Olsson opened the scoring for the Swedes just before the hour mark, with Zlatan Ibrahimovich going on to score a late winner after the visitors had equalised, while Elmander was involved in a controversial incident that saw Marko Arnautovic sent off in the 90th minute.

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There was a late coming together between the strikers and Elmander fell to the ground as they faced off, with the referee swiftly brandishing a red card. Footage of the clash quickly made it on to the internet, with the Austrians claiming the City striker had gone down far too easily.

Olsson and Elmander should both be involved as the Swedes round off their campaign with a home clash against group winners Germany while Leroy Fer will also be hoping for a game as they already qualfied Holland travel to a Turkey side looking for a play-off spot. Fer came on as a late susbtitute as the Dutch hammered Hungary 8-1 on Friday.