McCarthy sets sights on January return from ankle injury
RISING Irish star James McCarthy is targeting a return to action by the end of January as he continues his recovery from a serious ankle injury.
McCarthy required surgery after rupturing ligaments in his ankle following a tackle from Bolton's Fabrice Muamba in October.
The Wigan star turned 20 last month, and is keen to add to the sole Irish senior cap he earned against Brazil last February.
However, he is running out of time to be included in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for the Carling Nations Cup tie with Wales on February 8.
"I'll look to be back at the end of January hopefully," said McCarthy. "It's been really, really frustrating. I had my operation seven weeks ago.
"It's just about biding my time, strengthening my ankle and hopefully I'll be back running within a week or two.
"I just need to keep the head down. I've been working hard."
Meanwhile, the troubled financial situation at Plymouth looks likely to cut short promising Dubliner Conor Clifford's stay at the club.
Clifford, the captain of Chelsea's FA Youth Cup-winning team last year, has impressed during his loan stint with the League One side.
The Irish U-21 international has starred in a midfield role, but the club are immersed in financial difficulties.
Plymouth are being placed under a transfer embargo due to tax debts, which means he will be unable to extend his deal in January.
- SHAMROCK ROVERS have released experienced full-back Danny Murphy, despite the fact he has a year remaining on his contract.
The former Cork City defender struggled to win a regular starting place at Tallaght, with the impressive Enda Stevens keeping him out of the team.
Therefore, the club and player have come to an arrangement so he can seek new employment.