Duff's stitches leave Kerr running out of time

It is certainly a concern, not least because Ireland then have to face, and beat, Switzerland the following Wednesday to reach, in all probability, the play-offs. It gives little time for Duff's wound to heal. Wild horses, however, would not prevent Duff from playing Cyprus. The 26-year-old winger's devotion to the cause is unquestionable. Indeed, he has hampered his club career in the past, attempting to put off a shoulder operation last year, to turn out for his country.

How Kerr, in the absence of Roy Keane and other key players, needs a big performance from Duffer at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. Anything short of victory is unthinkable and Duff is the player most likely to provide the route to that.

Creating chances, rather than scoring them, with just seven goals for Ireland in 58 appearances, is his stock in trade but his absence would severely deflate the nation's hopes and morale at a time of great sensitivity. Kerr is dangling at present, his up-for-renewal contract not even a subject for discussion, with a noose about to be tightened around his neck before he celebrates his third anniversary in charge. His pre-match press conference, scheduled for early this morning, should be a study in body language if nothing else.

Kerr did not speak yesterday. Indeed, the sum total of his utterances to the media since the Irish squad assembled on Tuesday morning has been timed at just 63 seconds which, never mind the pressure on him, is pretty poor for the manager of a national team in a World Cup week.

Instead, in the 30C heat (thank goodness tomorrow is an evening kick-off) there was the straightforward assessment of the ever-honest defender Andy O'Brien. "However the group pans out is beyond our control," the Portsmouth man admitted. "We are just concentrating on ourselves."

He touched on the future of Kerr, not known to be a fan of O'Brien's and more likely to favour Richard Dunne tomorrow, by saying: "Football is about opinion from the top to the bottom. As a player you have a duty to do your best and we are just concerned with doing our jobs. The situation is nothing to do with the players. The powers that be will decide that."

Those powers, the Football Association of Ireland, certainly lie in wait even if Kerr could draw greater encouragement from Gary Doherty, a player he has nurtured through the national youth teams he used to control. "He's a great motivator and his attention to detail has never changed," Doherty said of Kerr.

"We will all know everything about Cyprus and their game plan and then it's up to us to put our game plan into operation." Doherty admitted the players were aware of the media attention on Kerr - "we all read the papers," he said - adding that it would be "nice" to win for the manager who "has nurtured a lot of us through the years".

The Norwich utility player said Kerr could take great credit for the return of Roy Keane and had a record to be proud. "He's our manager and he has done a great job," claimed Doherty, his own memories of Cyprus good having won the European Under-19s Championships - under Kerr.

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links