Republic of Ireland defender Steve Finnan has been ruled out of his country´s crunch Euro 2008 qualifier in Slovakia on Saturday with a knee injury.

The news will come as a blow to Republic boss Steve Staunton, who is already without Newcastle full-back Stephen Carr.

However Staunton remains hopeful that Finnan will return to fitness in time for next Wednesday´s clash with the Czech Republic in Prague, saying: "He will stay in Liverpool for treatment and we will continue to monitor his progress. If he improves he will join us in Prague."

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