Hartlepool United keeper Trevor Carson’s Northern Ireland debut dreams hang in the balance.
The goalie lasted just 35 minutes of Pools 2-0 win over Cheltenham yesterday, which was Craig Hignett’s men’s first home league win since April.
And as a result he is rated as touch and go for the international friendly clash with Croatia in Belfast on Tuesday evening.
The 28-year-old suffered a dislocated finger in a coming together with Town forward Billy Waters, and was taken to hospital for assessment on Saturday evening.
Having been initially assessed he has since been allowed to travel to Belfast, and has returned to Northern Ireland’s training base.
Carson was allowed special dispensation to come back to the Northern Gas & Power Stadium to face the Robins, where Pools signed him from in the summer of 2015.
His arrival back in the North East, after jetting into Newcastle airport in the early hours of Saturday morning, came less than 12 hours after Carson was named as an unused sub by Michael O’Neill for Friday evening’s World Cup qualification win over Azerbaijan.
And as things stand the former Sunderland trainee could still be in line to make his senior international bow in Tuesday night’s friendly with Croatia in Belfast. Although, that will only happen, should he be given the green light by medics across the Irish Sea.
Manager Hignett explained: “Trevor has a dislocated finger.
“He has been sent to hospital, but Trev being Trev thinks he’s OK for Tuesday.
“He could be playing some part in it, but he hopes he’s going to be strapped up and be able to play.”
Carson is set to be assessed by the Irish medical staff before any final decision is made on his availability.
Should he miss out it would represent the bitterest of blows for the stopper, who has been in outstanding for Pools this season.
The injury could also mean he is a doubt for Saturday’s trip to high-flying Doncaster Rovers.
Should he be declared fit, though, Carson is set to become the first Pools player to capped while wearing the famous blue and white since 1964.
Dublin-born Ambrose Fogarty became the one and only Pools player to ever receive international honours when he won the last of his 11 caps for the Republic of Ireland, against Spain, shortly after signing from Sunderland.