Norwich City midfielder Wes Hoolahan suffers injury blow

Wes Hoolahan was withdrawn in the first half of Saturday's match against Barnsley with a thigh injur

Wes Hoolahan was withdrawn in the first half of Saturday's match against Barnsley with a thigh injury and looks sit to be ruled out for the Republic of Ireland. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan could be set to miss Norwich City's Championship run-in after Republic of Ireland chief Martin O'Neill delivered a gloomy injury bulletin when he ruled the midfielder out of this week's World Cup qualifier against Wales.

O'Neill confirmed scans on Hoolahan's thigh injury are 'bad news' for the Irish and his club, when he addressed the media on Monday lunchtime. Hoolahan had not travelled to join up with the rest of the Republic squad on Sunday to undergo scans and receive further treatment on the thigh injury that forced him off in the first half of Saturday's 2-0 Championship win over Barnsley.

Interim City chief Alan Irvine made it clear after his side's Tykes' victory he expected Hoolahan to miss the Republic's qualifier and O'Neill has now ruled Hoolahan out, after initially naming him in his final squad.

'He'll be out, Wes is out, definitely out,' said O'Neill. 'We got the news through on the scan this morning and obviously it's not great, not great for us, not great for him and not great for his club. He's going to be out for quite a number of weeks, I believe.'

City return to league action at Aston Villa on April 1 but Hoolahan looks set to be on the sidelines ahead of the club's final eight-game stretch, which could mean greater involvement for both Alex Pritchard and James Maddison.

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Irvine admitted on Saturday night Hoolahan was unlikely to be fit for his country this week.

'If they ask to see him of course he will go over but we will look to treat him here. I am hoping when they see he came off as early as he did and in those circumstances they will probably say, 'Look don't bother coming over.' It is clearly a genuine injury,' he said. 'He has a bit of a thigh strain. We don't know how bad it is at the moment. It is a bit sore and something we have to report to Ireland. Whether they ask to see him or not I am not quite sure.'

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Hoolahan's first half injury exit against Barnsley was tempered to a degree by the returns of Nelson Oliveira, from a broken foot, and Graham Dorrans, who had not featured since damaging knee ligaments on Boxing Day.

'Really important to have them back. They have been a big miss,' said Irvine. 'They give us a different way of playing and bring different qualities to the team. I thought Graham Dorrans was excellent when he came on with his passing. The pass he slipped through for Jonny Howson was perfectly-timed and weighted.

'Nelson showed a couple of little moments when you thought he might just get a goal. We have missed them badly for the time they have been out. Suddenly you are looking at our bench and thinking, 'it was very strong.''

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