Northern Ireland midfielder and Motherwell frontman Liam Donnelly is set to miss the upcoming Nations League double-header as well as the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in October due to injury. Donnelly is facing two months on the sidelineswith a knee problem picked up while playing left-back in training just two weeks into the new Scottish Premiership season.
Donnelly is the fourth player injured in that position, joining Nathan McGinlay, Jake Carroll and Charles Dunne on the sidelines and prompting manager Motherwell Stephen Robinson to seek a new signing. Despite his impressive campaign in the domestic league last season, scoring 11 goals and playing a key role in Motherwell’s third-place finish, Donnelly only has two senior caps for Northern Ireland.
However, he is a key option in midfield at international level.New boss Ian Baraclough, former U21 boss of Northern Ireland where Donnelly was assigned as captain, leads Northern Ireland into a Nations League double-header at the start of September, with a trip to Romania on the 4th followed by a home game against Norway three days later.
The team is slated to play in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Bosnia & Herzegovina. If Northern Ireland make it through to the home match to either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland, Donnelly will hope to be fit for that game on November 12. Baraclough is yet comment about the injury blow, but he earlier opened some discussion on who will he start in the upcoming clash.
“We have a play-off game in Bosnia in October so I’m looking to players getting started and in good shape to give us the best possible chance,” Baraclough said earlier. “I could have cleared the decks but I wanted some continuity and the good thing about them is that I don’t have to get to know them and neither do the players.
Meanwhile, Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson, who have lost their opening two games of the new campaign, laments on the injury and reckons the “curse of the left back” in the team. It’s not great. Liam is going to be out for two months with a knee injury. The curse of the left back strikes again – he only played there for 20 minutes in training and that’s what happened,” Stephen Robinson said.
Following the postponement of the European Championship, the European football’s governing body UEFA later announced that the Euro 2020 play-off matches, due to be played in June, have been postponed until further notice. In June, UEFA announced that the play-offs for Euro 2020 will be played in October and November 2020.
Scotland are at home to Israel while Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland face trips to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovakia respectively in October. The play-off final, which would take Scotland to Norway or Serbia if they beat Israel, will be held on November 12. In March, a decision was made by theUEFA, as the most glorious 24-team European Championship was called-off and will resume after a year.