"I wasn't worried until you just mentioned it but obviously I don't feel so good now", joked Martin O'Neill at today's press conference where he announced a provisional 39-man squad for this month's World Cup qualifier against Wales.
The Republic of Ireland boss has been hit with something of an injury crisis at the back ahead of the pivotal tie at the Aviva Stadium on March 24.
Shane Duffy has become a mainstay since his start against Italy at Euro 2016 but was ruled out of the Welsh meeting after having an op to mend a fractured metatarsal.
"I think we have a number of problems as [reporter] mentioned", O'Neill admitted taking a more serious tone.
"Shane Duffy being a big injury blow to us. A real blow. He's been playing really for his club and I think he's been doing great for us so he's a blow."
Duffy has struck up a good partnership with Newcastle United stopper Ciaran Clark and they have been the favoured central defensive duo in the last three qualifiers after Duffy had served a suspension for the trip to Serbia.
Clark was forced off in the Magpies loss to Fulham in the Championship but O'Neill echoed the feelings of his club boss Rafa Benitez who revealed that he would have a scan on his knee but that his withdrawal was precautionary.It does however mean that Sunderland skipper John O'Shea comes back into the frame as he did in September, playing the full 90 minutes in the Serbia draw alongside Richard Keogh who's doubtful with a calf problem.
O'Neill expressed delight that the 35-year-old O'Shea is available to him.
"Delighted he's around! For every reason, I think it's worth re-iterating that his presence around the place, he's been great.
"Listen, that's not the reason he's stayed on, I think he wants to play. He's obviously got his own troubles at club level but delighted that he's around.
"Hopefully if he gets through next week, that he will be with us in the squad because he's been a great influence."
Meanwhile, Robbie Brady is suspended for the Wales clash but is expected to join the rest of the squad due to the friendly against Iceland taking place on the following Tuesday.