Ireland boost as McCarthy ready for Toffees return
James McCarthy is set to give his namesake Mick a timely boost by making his belated comeback from injury for Everton over the next eight days.
The midfielder has been declared fully fit by his club boss Marco Silva, who is awaiting the right opportunity to end his 11-month absence from first-team action.
That is likely to be imminent as the Toffees face Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow, then another Premier League game on Tuesday against Leicester City before they host Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday week.
McCarthy (27) has not played a competitive match for Ireland in more than two years, primarily due to the double-leg fracture he suffered in January, but returned to full training three months ago.
Silva has been careful to avoid rushing back a player with a history of hamstring trouble, managing his return through a series of partial matches for the club's U-23 side, but is now comfortable calling upon him for frontline service.
"James is training with our team," the Portuguese reported yesterday.
"He is ready if I take the decision for him to play. It is now about picking the right game for James to be involved in."
His international manager would like to have McCarthy match-fit, be it from games at Everton or a loan club next month, for the double-header against Gibraltar and Georgia in March.
One player in demand for a temporary switch is Conor Coventry.
The Ireland U-19 midfielder was on the bench for West Ham United's fixture at Southampton last night but League One promotion-chasers Charlton Athletic want the Londoner to replace fellow Hammer Josh Cullen.
The Ireland U-21 captain made 11 appearances on loan before last month suffering a dislocated shoulder which has ruled him out for four months.
Meanwhile, Dundalk will recoup most of the €35,000 they shelled out to Bray Wanderers for Dylan Connolly when the winger completes his move to English League One side AFC Wimbledon.
The 22-year-old still has 12 months to run on the two-and-a-half year deal he agreed with Stephen Kenny in July 2017 but caretaker boss Vinny Perth is prepared to let him go following the recent capture of former Bohemians flanker Daniel Kelly.
Connolly struggled to live up to his expensive billing at Oriel Park, being used mostly by Kenny as an impact substitute. Still, he departs Co Louth with the honour of bagging the winner against Levadia Tallinn in the first leg of the Europa League in July, their sole away strike during last season's European campaign.
From the highs of European action he is now facing into a relegation battle in League One with the club two points from safety and in danger of returning to the division they only got promoted from two and a half years ago.