Given boost for Ireland

But Douglas out with hamstring problem

Given: Set to face Wales

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Shay Given is optimistic of being fit for Republic of Ireland's qualifier with Wales, but Jonathan Douglas has pulled out of the squad.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Given has been struggling with a groin injury of late, but will link up with his international team-mates on Wednesday.

He is expected to be fit for Saturday's final Euro 2008 qualifier in Wales and caretaker coach Don Givens admits it will be a boost to have the keeper available.

"Shay is arriving this evening and is very, very optimistic, so it's great news for us," Givens told Sky Sports News."He will be arriving from Newcastle with Bobby Robson and we are looking forward to that as it will be a big boost to the squad to have Shay.


"Shay is vital psychologically for everybody. It's a great boost to know he's in the goal. Obviously he's one of the top keepers and is a big, big player for us."

But Leeds United midfielder Douglas will not be joining up with the squad after picking up a hamstring injury in his club's Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat to Bury on Tuesday.

Givens confirmed Douglas' absence, but revealed Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt and Sunderland defender Paul McShane should be fit to play Wales.

He added: "Stephen Hunt and Paul McShane, it was just a precaution that they didn't train this morning.

"Jonathan Douglas won't be joining us. He did a hamstring playing for Leeds.

"That's the situation at the moment, everything else is fine. The little knocks we had yesterday - Robbie (Keane), Kevin Doyle - have cleared up, so touch wood, we should be okay now."