Bulgaria injury crisis deepens

SOFIA - Bulgaria coach Stanimir Stoilov has suffered another injury blow before Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Ireland.

Mihail Venkov (pictured) sustained a knee injury in training to join fellow defenders Zahari Sirakov and Alexandar Tunchev on the sidelines.

Gritty midfielder Stanislav Angelov is still doubtful with a groin injury.

Bulgaria are third in Group Eight with seven points from five matches. Italy top the standings with 14 points from six matches followed by Ireland on 12.

"We know that Ireland will be searching for a positive result and I expect a very tough encounter," Stoilov said.