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New blow for McCarthy as James is set to miss out


BLOW: James McCarthy.

BLOW: James McCarthy.

BLOW: James McCarthy.

James McCarthy appears to have lost his battle to be fit for Ireland's Euro 2020 qualifiers later this month.

McCarthy last week named a provisional 38-man panel for the double header against Gibraltar and Georgia, but the Ireland boss will confirm a trimmed-down travelling party of 23 when he appears at a press conference in Dublin on Thursday, with the squad due to assemble here on Sunday.

Jonathan Walters, Ciaran Clark and Michael Obafemi are all out with long-term injuries.

There were fitness concerns over Shane Long and Seamus Coleman, Long suffering an injury during Southampton's win over Tottenham last weekend while a bout of illness caused Coleman to miss his club's Premier League defeat at Newcastle but both are expected to be fit.

James McCarthy needs to convince the Ireland boss of his fitness before the final squad is named, and the fact that he was not in the Everton U23 squad for their game against Arsenal last night means he has no chance of getting game time before the Ireland squad meet.

The midfielder has not played for Everton's first team since he suffered a broken leg in January.

He has also been absent for international duty since October 2016, McCarthy missing the last 21 games for the Republic of Ireland.

Mick McCarthy named seven players from Leagues One and Two in in his provisional squad but one of those footballers, Ronan Curtis, is expected to make it into the final squad.

The Ireland manager has talked up the talent of Portsmouth man Curtis, in form at club level.

"I haven't spoken to Mick about Ronan yet but Ronan should be pleased and encouraged that the new manager is considering him and has put him in the provisional squad, from him making his debut. He is very proud to play for his country and he will want that to continue," said Pompey boss Kenny Jackett.