| 12.4°C Dublin

More injury woe for Mac


James McCarthy

James McCarthy

James McCarthy

The injury woes of Irish midfielder James McCarthy have taken a turn for the worse with the news that the midfielder is out of action again with a fresh knee injury.

The 26-year-old has been left out of Everton squad for tonight's Europa League play-off first leg clash with Hajduk Split after suffering a setback to the knee problems that have dogged the Glasgow-born star since last March.

McCarthy wasn't selected for Everton's Premier League opener against Stoke last weekend as manager Ronald Koeman didn't feel he was fit enough, but it has since emerged that McCarthy "has picked up a knock to his knee."

McCarthy didn't feature in Everton's previous Europa League preliminary round win over Slovakian side Ruzomberok last month - despite being fit - fuelling rumours that he is set to leave Goodison Park before the summer transfer slams shut on August 31.

Premier League sides Newcastle and West Brom and Championship outfit Sunderland are among the front-runners for his signature.

With McCarthy not in the picture, Everton have been busy in the transfer market this summer - the latest arrival being Icelandic international midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson in a £45million deal from Swansea.

McCarthy's previous knee injury produced a war of words between Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and Everton boss Ronald Koeman, with O'Neill calling Koeman a "master tactician of the blame game" after Koeman accused his Irish counterpart of "not protecting" the player after he returned to his club with a hamstring injury from international duty.

McCarthy - who has been selected by O'Neill for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia - will be hoping his latest setback is not too serious as he bids to seal a move away from Goodison and report fit for Ireland next month.