Mick McCarthy has told Shane Duffy he will leave a vacant seat with extra legroom for him on the Republic of Ireland's team plane which heads off for a double header of Euro qualifiers on Thursday.
The Ireland boss is hoping the big centre half can recover from a calf injury, sustained in the Carabao Cup two weeks ago, in time for Ireland's fixtures against Georgia in Tbilisi on Saturday and next Tuesday's crunch Group D clash with the Swiss in Geneva.
“I’ve just had a text message from Shane," McCarthy said. “He’s been out on the grass, he’s feeling good, he’s going to do all the tests and he’s hoping he’s fit.
“He said, ‘If I’m still selected, I definitely want to be there.’ “I said, ‘You are still selected, we definitely want you here, the plane leaves at two o’clock on Thursday, we’ll keep you a seat with extra leg room and don’t be late.’ That was my message to him.”
McCarthy had initially left the Derry man out of his 24 man squad for the trip to Georgia but is willing to give Duffy until the final hour to declare himself fit.
Asked if it would take a big leap of faith to use him in either Tbilisi or Geneva, McCarthy said: "I wouldn't have put him in the squad if I thought that, so no."