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Thursday 17 August 2017

Double trouble for O'Neill as McCarthy and Coleman injury concerns

McCarthy and Coleman injury concerns ahead of qualifiers

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill

MARTIN O'Neill is facing an injury crisis for the Euro 2016 double header against Gibraltar and Germany with Everton duo Séamus Coleman and James McCarthy likely to miss both matches.

As the Ireland squad assemble in Dublin today, Shay Given is the only player to formally withdraw from the 27-man squad as the Aston Villa keeper has a hip problem.

And there was some good news for O'Neill over the weekend as Robbie Keane and Daryl Murphy arrived into the Irish camp with confidence high after their goal-scoring exploits over the last 48 hours while James McClean, Jonathan Walters and Jeff Hendrick, who have all been carrying injuries in recent weeks, played for their clubs.

But the fact that Coleman and McCarthy were not even on the subs list for Everton in their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United means they are effectively ruled out as the club are very unlikely to release the pair for international duty.

Coleman has now missed the club's last five games, initally with a head injury but now he has what his club describes as a "soft tissue problem" while McCarthy has a quad injury.

Everton had suggested that McCarthy would miss the Gibraltar game but could be fit in time for the German date but the FAI do not expect the midfielder to be available at all.

While O'Neill can cope without the duo for the Gibraltar game, the Ireland boss was desperate to have a strong XI for the game in Gelsenkirchen and now he may have to call on defenders like Alex Pearce or Richard Keogh, or the stand-by pair of Damien Delaney and Paul McShane, to help out against the World Cup holders.

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