Injured Aiden is hamstrung

Aiden McGeady injured his hamstring against Aston Villa

Aiden McGeady injured his hamstring against Aston Villa

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Preston North End winger Aiden McGeady has pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad because of injury.

McGeady, on a season-long loan from Everton, was in the Irish party for their World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova.

But a hamstring strain which he suffered in the latter stages of PNE’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa last Saturday, has put paid to his involvement.

The 30-year-old is one of six players to have withdrawn from Martin O’Neill’s squad.

Also ruled out by injury are Daryl Murphy, Kevin Doyle, Stephen Quinn, Keiren Westwood and Anthony Pilkington.

McGeady was hoping that his loan move to North End would lead to some increased involvement at international level.

When out of the picture at parent club Everton, he still made the Republic squad for every game.

In fact, he saw action three times in Euro 2016, coming on as a substitute against Sweden, Belgium and Italy – taking his number of caps to 85.

His aim though, is to get back to being a regular starter, but this injury will delay those ambitions.

Speaking to the Evening Post prior to his call-up, McGeady said: “I was still in the squads but I lost my place in the team really.

“When I started being left out of the squads at Everton, I lost my place in the starting line-up.

“I’d played all the qualifiers for the Euros up until about halfway and I understand that the manager cannot be picking players like that.

“I was lucky to be getting in the squads to be honest because I wasn’t playing at all.

“Martin O’Neill was loyal to me, which was good, and I ended up making the Euros squad but I hadn’t played a lot of football.

“I’m grateful to him for keeping me in his thoughts and hopefully I can get playing again and try and get my place back in the team.”

McGeady has played six games for North End since his move on deadline day.

Five of those have been starts, and he came on as a late substitute in last week’s 2-2 draw with Birmingham.

His injury against Villa came in the last 10 minutes when he stretched making a sliding challenge.

After treatment on the pitch, McGeady came off and was replaced by Paul Huntington.

North End manager Simon Grayson said: “Aiden tweaked his hamstring and hopefully it is nothing too serious.”

Grayson had been careful not to try and overload McGeady’s schedule.

Since he had not been featuring for Everton prior to the loan switch, there was the risk of him suffering a muscle injury through fatigue.

McGeady was rested for the victory at Bournemouth in the League Cup and then benched at Birmingham.

North End have the rest of the international break to get him along the road to recovery.

By then, they expect to have two other players back from hamstring injuries – Jermaine Beckford and Marnick Vermijl.

Beckford has not featured for six weeks, while Vermijl was injured at Brentford.