Tuesday 16 January 2018

Mac injury hits O'Neill Irish hopes

Coleman fully fit but James a doubt for World Cup qualifiers

Jame McCarthy: injury fears
Jame McCarthy: injury fears

Martin O'Neill may have to plan without James McCarthy for next month's World Cup double header after the midfielder went under the knife to cure a groin problem.

McCarthy missed Ireland's opening game in the World Cup qualifiers against Serbia on Monday and Everton boss Ronald Koeman has confirmed that the 25-year-old will be out for up to a month, making him a major doubt for the games at home to Georgia (October 6th) and away to Moldova (October 9th).

Koeman did have some good news as Séamus Coleman, who made his first appearance of the season for club or country in that 2-2 in Belgrade, had no ill-effects from his Ireland appearance and is fit to face Sunderland on Monday, but the update on McCarthy is not so good.

"James McCarthy had groin surgery and will be out for three weeks," said Koeman. "He [Coleman] was fit to play [for Ireland] and he came back without any reaction, he is fit to start."

McCarthy's absence in Serbia ended a run of 12 successive starts in competitive games for the midfielder and while Robbie Brady now appears comfortable in a central midfield role, McCarthy's non-availability for the Georgia/Moldova double header would reduce O'Neill's options.

In the aftermath of the opening matches in the group, Moldova boss Igor Dobrovolski has promised to make mass changes to his squad for next month following their 4-0 hammering in Wales.

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