Leon Best pulls out of Ireland's first-leg play-off with Estonia


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The Independent Football

Striker Leon Best has become the third player to pull out of Ireland's squad for the first leg of their Euro 2012 playoff against Estonia on Friday as his wife is set to give birth to their first child.

The 25-year-old Newcastle United forward was already a major doubt for the game in Tallinn after suffering groin and toe injuries during Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win over Everton.

With Best, Liam Lawrence and Shane Long injured, and Kevin Doyle suspended, either Jonathan Walters or Simon Cox will partner skipper Robbie Keane in attack.

Coach Giovanni Trapattoni, hoping to guide Ireland into their first European finals since 1988, said Best would rejoin the squad on Saturday to prepare for the second leg in Dublin on Nov. 15.

He also hopes John O'Shea could return to the squad for the second game.

"We will wait for him," said Trapattoni. "He is not fit for Friday's game, but will come with us on Saturday."