Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill offers injury update on Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark

Ciaran Clark.
Ciaran Clark.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has offered an update on defender Ciaran Clark's injury situation.

The central defender was today named in the 39-man preliminary squad for Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales next week, as well as a friendly against Iceland.

And O'Neill, whose side top their group heading into the encounter, is hopeful that Clark will be fit to face Chris Coleman's men, despite the fact he limped out of Newcastle United's 3-1 home loss to Fulham on Saturday with a knee problem.

O'Neill, speaking to the Irish press, said: "I’m hoping that Ciaran’s injury is not that serious.

"I don’t know for sure but I don’t think it is, I think it [taking him off against Fulham] was just precautionary."

After the Magpies defeat, Rafa Benitez said the club would have to wait and see whether former Aston Villa defender Clark would be fit for the trip to Birmingham.

Ciaran Clark

Ciaran Clark

"Clark picked up a knock with his knee, so we will have to see how he is," the Spaniard confirmed at the weekend.

But O'Neill's comments have increased hope that United will have Clark, who has been outstanding since his summer switch to the club, available for the St Andrews clash.