James McClean: Republic midfielder doubtful for Slovakia play-off

James McClean started in all 10 Euro 2020 qualifiers for the Republic of Ireland
James McClean started in all 10 Euro 2020 qualifiers for the Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland midfielder James McClean could miss the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Slovakia because of a knee injury.

Stoke City said McClean is facing "several weeks on the sidelines" after picking up the medial knee ligament injury against Preston on Wednesday.

The Republic take on Slovakia in the play-off in Bratislava on 26 March.

The winner will face Northern Ireland or Bosnia and Herzegovina in the play-off final.

McClean has been a key player for the Republic in recent years and his absence would be a major blow for boss Mick McCarthy.

The 30-year-old was substituted during the home defeat which sees Stoke remain 21st in the Championship.

McClean's club manager is Michael O'Neill who will take charge of Northern Ireland for the play-off games.

"Stoke City can confirm that James McClean is facing several weeks on the sidelines," the club stated on Thursday.

On Friday, Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy said McClean remained in his plans for the play-offs.

"I've been in contact with James since he got injured. He's told me he will do everything he can to get on the plane to Bratislava next month and I'd expect nothing less from him," said McCarthy.

"James has been a key player for me throughout this European Championship campaign and we will support him all the way with his recovery."