Friday 9 December 2016

Positive signs for Coleman as O'Neill waits for news on McCarthy

Published 30/08/2016 | 02:30

James McCarthy: injury fears
James McCarthy: injury fears

Seamus Coleman has a strong chance of featuring in Ireland's World Cup qualifier opener with Serbia on Monday after reporting for duty yesterday.

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The Donegal man has yet to feature for Everton this season due to an ankle injury and is definitely out of tomorrow night's friendly with Oman.

However, the leading candidate to replace Robbie Keane as captain for the long haul joined up with the Irish camp and underwent some fitness work on his own with a view to proving his wellbeing for the crunch encounter in Belgrade.

The early indications from that workout were positive, but he still faces a battle to prove his fitness.

His club colleague James McCarthy is now a bigger concern, with his groin problem assessed by medics yesterday.

Jeff Hendrick engaged in light training with the group at Malahide as he nurses a hamstring complaint, but he is likely to leave the camp to sort out his club future after Hull City entered talks with Derby County over a £10m transfer.

Promising

It is a promising development for the Dubliner despite the crisis-laden summer at Hull which raised doubts about their survival prospects.

Hendrick should expect to enjoy a good run in the Tigers' side if the deal is completed and he gets his first crack at Premier League football.

Burnley had been at the head of the queue to sign one of the Irish stars of the European Championships, but fellow newcomers Hull are prepared to stump up the cash.

They have started the season reasonably well under Mike Phelan, with David Meyler playing a prominent role.

Robbie Brady's future remains up in the air as the transfer window enters its final 24 hours.

Daryl Murphy was given permission to join up later after he completed the formalities of his transfer from Ipswich to Newcastle.

He could be replaced at Ipswich by Leon Best, who has fallen out of the Irish picture completely and is on trial with a view to earning a contract.

John O'Shea is due in today, with a hip injury making him a doubt for the Serbian encounter.

New Brighton recruit Shane Duffy is banned, so Richard Keogh and Ciaran Clark are the leading candidates in central defence.

Paul McShane (hamstring) and Keiren Westwood (personal reasons) were also unavailable for the first group training session since the end of Ireland's participation in France.

Shane Long and Robbie Keane sat it out with minor problems.

Irish Independent

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