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Saturday 3 December 2016

McCarthy in Irish lift

Midfielder's return to action with Everton tonight will be a relief for O'Neill as Euro 2016 draws near

Everton’s James McCarthy should be fit to face Manchester City tonight in the League Cup semi-final second leg. Photo: PA
Everton’s James McCarthy should be fit to face Manchester City tonight in the League Cup semi-final second leg. Photo: PA

Everton will deliver some more good news for Martin O'Neill's Euro 2016 plans as injury victim James McCarthy is poised to return to action with the Toffees tonight.

O'Neill has had plenty to occupy his mind in recent weeks as Séamus Coleman and McCarthy were both sidelined by calf and groin problems, McCarthy a particular concern as he played in just one of his club's last 11 games.

Coleman made his comeback as a sub in Sunday's Premier League loss to Swansea City while McCarthy will play some part in tonight's League Cup semi-final second leg clash with Manchester City.

"There was good news in terms of Séamus coming on (against Swansea) and showing no effects of being injured. He looks fully fit and we look forward to him participating in the squad," boss Martinez said ahead of the second leg tie with City.

"James should be available and we need to finalise tonight what role he has to play tonight."

A worryingly high number of O'Neill's squad have been battling injury or loss of form in recent weeks but there has been some good news. Marc Wilson played his first Premier League game in three months for Stoke last weekend but did not start at Liverpool last night despite an injury to Ryan Shawcross.

Keiren Westwood has returned to Sheffield Wednesday after a month out due to a groin injury, and Stephen Ward has impressed since winning back his place at Burnley last month.

But O'Neill is keen to see Aiden McGeady and Darron Gibson secure loan moves ahead of Monday's transfer deadline while Shay Given is still working on his fitness following surgery.

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