TOWN midfielder Michael Collins is hoping to be fit for Republic of Ireland Under 21 duty the week after next.
The ankle injury victim has been selected alongside on-loan defender Richard Keogh for the big European Championship qualifier against England Under 21s in Cork on Tuesday, October 16.
And Collins, who has two Under 21 caps so far, is hoping the damage to his left joint sustained early in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest doesn’t prove too serious.
Manager Andy Ritchie still hasn’t ruled him out of tomorrow’s visit to Walsall.
Town’s following game is in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Doncaster on Sunday week, and both Collins, below, and Keogh have been left out of the Republic Under 21 party for the warm-up friendly in Sweden two days before.
They will link up with their international teammates after their club’s Keepmoat Stadium clash.
The decision to excuse them from Swedish duty could be a nod to Town boss Andy Ritchie’s frustration at the Friday-night scheduling of the Republic’s opening qualifier against Portugal, who won 2-0 in Cork.
Both Collins and Keogh were missing from Town’s 2-0 League I defeat at Crewe the following day.
“I had a constructive chat with Don Givens (the Republic Under 21 coach) when I put my concerns to him,” said Ritchie.
“I’ve no wish to stop any player gaining international caps, because that’s the pinnacle of the profession.
“But I think there has to be consideration for clubs, particularly those in the Coca-Cola League, when international fixtures are being fixed up.
“It’s particularly important for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic, because they have smaller pools of players and so dip into the lower divisions more.
“Unlike the Premiership, we don’t get weekends off when internationals are taking place, so we may have to go into big matches without key players.
“Avoiding fixture clashes is therefore important.”