Sunderland striker Anthony Stokes has been called into the Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Italy.

The 20-year-old, currently on loan at Crystal Palace, flew into Dublin on Thursday after Newcastle winger Damien Duff was sent home with a hamstring injury which has ruled him out of both games.

With Celtic winger Aiden McGeady also battling against a foot problem, manager Giovanni Trapattoni has moved to strengthen his options.

Assistant boss Liam Brady has already confirmed Reading's Stephen Hunt will take Duff's place in the team against Bulgaria at Croke Park on Saturday evening.

The Irish camp are hopeful that McGeady, who has a badly-bruised right foot, will be available, although that will depend on whether he is able to join in training with his team-mates on Friday.

If he does not make it, the Italian will have to assess his options, and Stokes' arrival will give him more cover.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
#Sunderland
#Reading
#Anthony Stokes
#Stephen Hunt
#Premier League
#Damien Duff
#Crystal Palace
#Stephen Hunt
Flag article