Duff blow for Republic
Republic of Ireland ace Damien Duff has been ruled out of the World Cup qualifier against Italy with a calf injury and Noel Hunt has been called up as a replacement. Fulham winger Duff sustained the injury during the recent Premier League defeat to Arsenal at Craven Cottage. The 30-year-old has failed to overcome the problem and will therefore miss the crucial meeting with Italy, which can be seen live on Sky Sports 2 and HD2. Duff has been replaced by Reading's Hunt, who has earned two previous caps for his country. Darron Gibson (groin) and Steven Reid (Achilles) have also been forced to pull out of the match against the World Cup champions. Striker Caleb Folan had already been declared unavailable due to a hamstring injury. Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic side trail Italy by four points at the top of Group 8 with two games remaining.
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