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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020
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McCarthy hopeful on McClean injury ahead of Slovakia play-off

The Stoke attacker is a doubt for the make-or-break clash.

Mick McCarthy with James McClean after the home draw with Switzerland last year.
Mick McCarthy with James McClean after the home draw with Switzerland last year.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND manager Mick McCarthy is hopeful that James McClean will be available for next month’s Euro 2020 play-off with Slovakia. 

McClean – an ever-present under McCarthy thus far – has suffered a medial knee ligament injury, and was yesterday ruled out of action for “several weeks” by his club Stoke City. 

McCarthy’s Ireland travel to Bratislava to play on 26 March, just shy of six weeks from today. 

“I’ve been in contact with James since he got injured”, McCarthy told the FAI. “He’s told me he will do everything he can to get on the plane to Bratislava next month and I’d expect nothing less from him.

“James has been a key player for me throughout this European Championship campaign and we will support him all the way with his recovery.”

McClean is yet to score for Ireland under McCarthy, but has been revitalised at club level under Michael O’Neill, scoring twice in his last four games as the Potters clambered clear of the relegation zone. 

Ireland must beat Slovakia along with the winners of the play-off clash between Northern Ireland and Bosnia to qualify for the European Championships. 

Elsewhere, Uefa today confirmed the enormous demand for tickets to the pan-European edition of the competition, with a record number of requests for tickets.

There have been approximately 28.3 million ticket requests for 2.5 million available tickets. The final, set to take place at London’s Wembley Stadium on 12 July, attracted more than 714,000 ticket requests – almost eight times the ground’s capacity. Similarly, the match between France and Germany, which will be staged in Munich on 16 June, attracted 710,000 requests for tickets.

64% of ticket applications came from fans within host countries, with three group games and a last-16 tie taking place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. 

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Gavin Cooney

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