Roy Keane: 'Fingers crossed that Jonathan Walters is fit'

Roy Keane hopes that Jonathan Walters will shake off a minor ankle injury ahead of Republic of Ireland's qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia over the next week.

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has confessed that he is desperate to see Jonathan Walters win his battle against a minor injury in time to play a part in the World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia.

The 33-year-old picked up a knock against Blackburn Rovers just minutes into his full Burnley debut last week, eventually forcing him off the field shortly before half time.

Walters then sat out the weekend draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, leaving him as a doubt to face Georgia in Tbilisi on Saturday and the top-of-the-table clash against Serbia at the Aviva Stadium three days later.

Keane is hopeful that the forward, who scored a late goal against Austria last time out to keep Ireland joint-top of Group D, will win his fitness battle.

"Jon is a very important player in the dressing room, he's a leader. Fingers crossed he is fit," he told reporters. "It's a long way to travel but that won't be any excuse. It's the same for everyone, we're well looked after.

"I don't want any players picking up daft cards but you've got to be up for it. Focus on Saturday, it's like a normal week. We've played Georgia several times over the last few years and it has always been tough. We're positive though.

"It's been great, the journey's been fantastic. I'm really enjoying the job and hungry to get success for Ireland."

Jeff Hendrick and James McCarthy have both been ruled out of the upcoming qualifiers, while fellow midfielder Eunan O'Kane has returned to club side Leeds United for treatment on a groin strain.

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Roy Keane, manager of Sunderland looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers at The Stadium of Light on November 29, 2008 in Sunderland, England.
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