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Boost for Ireland as McCarthy set to fly against Eagles


James McCarthy

James McCarthy

James McCarthy

ROBERTO Martinez hopes to see Ireland star James McCarthy (inset) back in action next weekend after the midfielder managed to step up his recovery during the club's mid-season trip to the sun.

With no game last weekend due to their FA Cup exit, Everton boss Martinez used the time off to take his squad to Qatar for a warm-weather training camp.

And the break seems to have done the world of good to McCarthy, who has not featured for the Toffees since December.

"It is really positive. Sylvain Distin and James McCarthy are really progressing a lot in this warm weather," Martinez said as the Toffees squad prepared to head back to England from Qatar.

"They have both joined the group in training and have come through really well. So I see James as fully fit now but we will assess everybody before the Crystal Palace game.

"This week has allowed James to build up his fitness levels and I do expect him to be fully fit and ready for Crystal Palace."

Everton face Palace next Saturday, a key game for the Toffess ahead of a tricky run of games against Liverpool and Chelsea, with the side just four points away from the relegation zone.

McCarthy has missed the club's last five games with the hamstring problem which has dogged the midfielder all season with club and country, as the former Wigan man has missed Ireland's last four games and has played only briefly under Martin O'Neill.

Meanwhile, Kevin Doyle remains in limbo at Wolves. The Wexford man didn't even make the bench for Saturday's scoreless draw with Charlton.