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McCarthy's hamstring problems strike again ahead of crucial World Cup qualifier

Martin O’Neill names his squad for the Group D clash against Wales tomorrow.

McCarthy missed Everton's win over West Brom.
McCarthy missed Everton's win over West Brom.
Image: Martin Rickett

JAMES MCCARTHY HAS once again emerged as an injury doubt ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier with the midfielder struggling with another hamstring problem.

McCarthy missed Everton’s Premier League win over West Brom yesterday and now faces a race against time to be fit for Ireland’s Group D clash with Wales on 24 March.

The 26-year-old sat out the 1-0 win over Austria with a similar issue last November and Ronald Koeman yesterday revealed he is at least ‘one or two weeks’ away from a return.

Martin O’Neill names his squad for the game at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow, and while McCarthy is expected to be included in the panel his fitness will be of major concern for the manager.

“James again has some problems with his hamstring – it happened at the beginning of last week,” Koeman said on Saturday.

“It’s painful for him and also for me because I like him and we want to progress with him. But every time we do that he has to take a step back. It’s not a big hamstring injury – he will be out for one or two weeks – but I’m really disappointed about it.

“We need to deal with his fitness and maybe [play him] 30-35 minutes like last week, then put him through recovery. We need to learn. I’m not a doctor but I want the best for him, it’s difficult. It’s another step back for the boy and that’s really disappointing. We need to find a solution and we haven’t found it yet.”

Ireland will definitely be without defender Shane Duffy for the fifth game of the campaign after the Blackburn Rovers man broke his foot earlier this month.

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