Stoke City midfielder James McClean is set to miss the rest of the season due to injury, manager Michael O’Neill has revealed.
McClean had been suffering with a foot injury, but still played three times for the Republic of Ireland during last month’s March international break.
Since then, the midfielder has made just a brief substitute appearance for the Potters in their 2-1 defeat to Millwall on Monday, and it now seems as though that may be as much as we see of McClean for the rest of the campaign.
Providing an update on his side’s team news ahead of their trip to Birmingham on Saturday afternoon, O’Neill was quoted by The Stoke Sentinel as saying: “The only (new) injury we have is James McClean. He hasn’t been able to train since Monday. Clearly he aggravated the heel injury that he went with on international duty.
“He’s not been available and won’t be available until we remedy that situation.”
Discussing the severity of the injury, O’Neill went on to add: “It’s difficult to assess but it’s too sore to train at this minute in time.
“That would suggest the process we went through medically, we’ll probably have to restart that, but it’s too early to make that assessment. I don’t envisage James will be fit again this season.”
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So far this season, McClean has made 24 league appearances for the Potters, scoring twice and providing three assists.
As things stand, McClean’s current contract with Stoke is set to expire at the end of next season.
This will be rather frustrating from a Stoke City perspective.
It seems as though the midfielder’s efforts on international duty have proved damaging for the midfielder’s fitness here, hindering the Potters’ prospect for a strong end to the season.
You wonder therefore whether this could cause a bit of tension between club and country here, which could prove to be an unwelcome distraction for both if it happens.
Indeed, with McClean’s contract situation as it is, this could also throw his Stoke future into further uncertainty, if they choose to try and sell him this summer, rather than risk losing him on a free transfer in 12 months time.