Patrick Bamford up for Irish call as Nathan Redmond mulls options
Mick McCarthy's search for new striking options is set to bear fruit, with Leeds United attacker Patrick Bamford indicating he is ready to come on board.
McCarthy has also spoken with the agent of Southampton's Nathan Redmond, who appears to be keeping his options more open.
Ipswich new boy Will Keane is also in his thoughts, yet the Ireland manager's concern about the overall picture has resulted in informal discussions with Daryl Murphy about the possibility of the veteran coming out of retirement if there's an emergency.
McCarthy has not given up hope of convincing the Nottingham Forest attacker that it's worth giving the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign a crack.
Bamford, who grew up in the Nottingham area, was named Championship Player of the Year for 2014/'15 when then Ipswich boss McCarthy felt that Murphy deserved the award.
However, he respects the ex-Chelsea player's ability, although his injury record would be a concern.
He has barely played for Leeds since his £7m summer switch from Middlesbrough - the 25-year-old has made six substitute appearances although he did score the winning goal in his last outing against Bolton in December.
"I've spoken to Patrick. I was due to go meet him at the Leeds game with QPR last weekend but he was injured so he didn't travel so I didn't get a chance," says McCarthy. "But my intention is to meet him and have a chat. He wants to meet me. I'd take it as a positive. I hope he wasn't getting me to travel to Leeds to say he's not interested. That would be really disappointing!
"He's a proven goalscorer, technically a very good finisher and we haven't got that many.
"I spoke to Daryl Murphy on Friday morning and told him that maybe retirement might be put on hold, you never know."
The strong relationship between the pair lent itself to an open chat.
"He was [saying] it's tough playing games every week and I was, 'Ah shut up, just come in and play and get on with it'," said McCarthy with a smile.
"I think 46 games a season and travelling and playing international football is not going to be [easy for] him because he's getting to the twilight of his career.
"But on his day, he's such a big powerful presence and he's a good finisher, he's a great lad as well."
Murphy has only played 16 games for Forest this term, a stat that the Ireland supremo has noted.
"I know, I just told him to be by the phone just in case," he continued. "He hasn't said no."
Redmond would bring a Premier League pedigree to wide areas and he's been on the Irish radar for some time, but a full senior cap for England in a friendly with Germany in 2017 appeared to close the door.
However, he is out of favour with Gareth Southgate and McCarthy has made contact with the player's agent without being able to set up talks with the 24-year-old.
"I tried to get to meet him before Christmas and it didn't happen. I think he got injured and was having treatment.
"I haven't had a conversation with him so I can't be as encouraged as by speaking to Patrick Bamford. I spoke to him, arranged to meet him and it didn't happen because he was injured, so that is far more positive than me speaking to his agent.
"He's had a lot of time to think about it. The team that is playing at Southampton is not having a great time at the moment but he is actually playing well. He'd be one I'd be delighted to get if we could."
Keane got off the mark for his new club Ipswich over the weekend, but the fact that his last four goals have been with four different clubs highlights the 26-year-old's struggles in recent terms.
The former Manchester United trainee is the twin brother of Everton defender Michael and he remains eligible for Ireland, even though he turned down calls from the FAI in his younger days.
Michael came and played underage for Ireland but then switched his allegiance to England. Will only lined out for England underage sides, so there is no obstacle that could prevent him switching to Ireland.
McCarthy is looking everywhere because he is concerned about the shortage of players lining out for their club sides.
He would like to see Alan Judge more regularly involved at Brentford and is worried for James McClean because new Stoke City manager Nathan Jones prefers a diamond formation - he was benched on Saturday.
"The squad seems to be getting smaller and smaller," says McCarthy, who confirmed that a training trip to Quinta do Lago in Portugal is on the cards for May.
"There's quite a lot not playing for one reason or another."
Sheffield United are a source of joy and his assistant Terry Connor watched David McGoldrick score their only goal against QPR on Saturday afternoon, with John Egan and Enda Stevens also involved again, as per usual.
Seamus Coleman's return to the Everton side yesterday is a boost, although McCarthy had stressed beforehand that he would be staying loyal to the Irish skipper.
He recalled what Jack Charlton's support meant to him during some testing times in his club career.
"I believe my job is to show faith in people even if they're having a tough time," said McCarthy. "He's been a super player and still is.
"You could argue Matt Doherty is playing well for Wolves. But he (Coleman) is the captain and - if he's fit - I've got total faith in Seamus."