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Jeff Hendrick hands Republic of Ireland a boost ahead of Copenhagen clash

Jeff Hendrick (second from left) trained yesterday ahead of Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifying play-off first leg against Denmark on Saturday
Damien Spellman in Copenhagen

JEFF Hendrick has handed Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill a major boost ahead of Saturday's World Cup play-off clash with Denmark.

The 25-year-old Burnley midfielder was able to train with the rest of his team-mates on Thursday before the squad headed to Copenhagen after previously working with the Football Association of Ireland's medical team as he attempted to shake off a gluteal muscle injury.

He was joined on the training pitch by club-mate Stephen Ward, with the full-back having been rested as a precaution earlier in the week.

An FAI spokesman said: "Both Stephen Ward and Jeff Hendrick, who had undergone specialised training sessions with FAI medical staff in previous days, came through the session without any problems."

Hendrick's presence among the travelling party was all the more welcome because of the absence of David Meyler through suspension for the first leg and James McCarthy with a hamstring problem.

Meyler captained his country to the 1-0 victory in Wales last month which booked their place in the play-offs, but picked up his second booking of the campaign along the way.

Two more familiar faces linked up with the squad before its departure from Dublin, with skipper Seamus Coleman and deputy Jonathan Walters joining up ahead of a double-header which will determine Ireland's presence or otherwise at the finals in Russia next summer.

Coleman is back in training after his recovery from the double leg fracture he suffered during the qualifing draw with Wales in March, while Walters is working his way back from a knee injury which has sidelined him since the beginning of September.

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