Monday 23 October 2017

McCarthy boost for O'Neill

James McCarthy returned to training yesterday ahead of tomorrow night’s game against Wales. Photo: Sportsfile
James McCarthy returned to training yesterday ahead of tomorrow night’s game against Wales. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

James McCarthy has put himself in contention for involvement in tomorrow's World Cup qualifier with Wales by coming through training in Abbotstown yesterday.

Ireland assistant Roy Keane said that the Glaswegian needed to participate in the penultimate session before the game to have any chance of figuring and the 26-year-old was able to play some part in proceedings.

McCarthy has struggled with hamstring problems throughout the season and Everton boss Ronald Koeman had offered a negative bulletin on his prospects of recovering in time for the Aviva Stadium fixture.

Team-mate Stephen Ward welcomed the development in a week where Irish options have been depleted by injuries and suspension with the midfield area considerably weakened with Robbie Brady, Harry Arter and Wes Hoolahan all out of the equation.

The availability of McCarthy - even as an option off the bench - would ease Martin O'Neill's worries.

"Fingers crossed, he's got a chance," said Ward. "Hopefully he'll have no ill effects and we'll see how he feels later on.

"When your injury list is growing by the day, to get one back would be massive for us. It's a positive sign to see him out there and if he does make it through and he's available, it'll be a big plus for us."

Irish Independent

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