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Ireland duo test positive for virus ahead of Bulgaria game

Dublin (AFP) – Ireland’s Matt Doherty and James McClean are set to miss the Republic’s final Nations League fixture at home to Bulgaria on Wednesday after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The duo started Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Wales in Cardiff but have now been isolated from the rest of the group, which flew back to Dublin on Monday.

“The Football Association of Ireland can confirm Ireland defender Matt Doherty and forward James McClean have tested positive for Covid-19,” said an FAI statement.

“The players have been isolated from the group as per Covid-19 protocols, and the HSE (Ireland’s Health Services Executive) have been informed of this development.

“The rest of the staff and squad tested negative ahead of the flight back to Dublin this morning before the UEFA Nations League match against Bulgaria on Wednesday.”

Doherty and McClean’s impending absence creates a further problem for Republic manager Stephen Kenny, after Jeff Hendrick’s red card in Cardiff saw him join fellow midfielder Jayson Molumby in being suspended for the Bulgaria match.

Kenny was already having to do without the likes of Callum Robinson and Alan Browne following their positive tests this month.

Meanwhile Seamus Coleman, Enda Stevens and John Egan are all missing through injury, while James McCarthy had withdrawn from the squad for family reasons.

Ireland need to avoid defeat at Lansdowne Road to ensure they do not finish bottom of Group B4 and suffer relegation.

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