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McCarthy close to return


James McCarthy

James McCarthy

James McCarthy

Injured Ireland star James McCarthy could be fit for pre-season in a major boost for club and country.

And there's also good news on Seán Maguire, who is on the road to recovery after a 17-week injury absence.

McCarthy has been sidelined since he suffered a double leg break in January, and there were fears that he could be out for 10 months, like teammate Séamus Coleman. But Everton boss Sam Allardyce says the initial progress of McCarthy has been good.

"It is down to the specialist and them saying if and when James can start moving forward," Allardyce said.

"The specialist will guide us on how far we can go and with a bit of luck we can look forward to James starting the next pre-season with us."

Maguire, who underwent surgery on his hamstring in November, this week stepped up his recovery by playing in a behind-closed-doors game for Preston. "It's touching distance away now, hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can be back in contention for selection," said the striker, hopeful of featuring for Ireland against Turkey.