McCarthy return provides boost for McCarthy
Mick McCarthy looks set to receive a Christmas boost with the news that Everton midfielder James McCarthy could make his competitive comeback over the festive period after 11 months out with a broken leg.
The Republic of Ireland international has not featured since a horrific double fracture of his lower right leg against West Brom on January 20.
McCarthy was involved with the squad for the visit of Newcastle earlier this month but did not make the bench.
But with four matches in 10 days - the shortest time of all Premier League sides - from Sunday until New Year's Day, he could be called upon.
"James is progressing. He is getting better," manager Marco Silva said. "It is good to have all of them available. We will need all of them. It will be important in a busy month.
"I know games will give him a better condition, but we are playing tough, tough matches and it is not easy to give him what everybody knows will help him get better, which is minutes in those games.
"But he is a worker and I really like him. He works really hard every day to achieve the best physical condition."
Another Ireland midfielder, Jeff Hendrick, has been handed a contract extension by Burnley.
Hendrick joined Burnley from Derby for a then club-record fee of £10.5m two-and-a-half-years ago and has gone on to make nearly 100 appearances in all competitions.
His deal was set to expire at the end of this season but Burnley have secured Hendrick's services for a further 12 months.
Clarets manager Sean Dyche said: "He's done well for us. We have used him in a number of different positions that sometimes aren't natural to him and over time he has delivered good performances."
Elsewhere, Bolton announced that Stephen Ireland has left the club by mutual consent.