Steven Fletcher is waiting for his groin to be assessed as Stoke City prepare to take another blow in a season that is not running out of kicks in the gut.
Fletcher had been making a big impression leading the line for Stoke in his comeback game against Bournemouth last night, having been nursed through previous weeks with an infected knee injury.
But the 33-year-old landed awkwardly mid-way through the first half and was in obvious pain as he was led back to the changing room.
Michael O’Neill did not want to preempt any diagnosis but could tell from Fletcher’s reaction that it is not a call he is looking forward to receiving, particularly because he is already without Tyrese Campbell (knee) and Lee Gregory (groin).
He said: “It’s too early to say. The fact he came off and looked in quite a lot of discomfort as he came off is not a good sign.
“I would imagine he would be out for a period of time. How long that is, obviously it’s too difficult to say at this minute in time.”
He added: “I think it’s his groin. It’s too early to say the extent of the damage. It’s a big blow. We had to shuffle the pack a little bit and obviously it’s another striker who’s going to be out.
“Steven has already been out this season with a knee injury. Lee Gregory is out, Tyrese Campbell is out. We just have to find a solution at the top end of the pitch.
“I thought we created some half decent chances in the first half but again we didn’t capitalise on any of those.”