McCarthy to watch Crowley in action tonight following encouraging Championship debut

The Ireland boss will also monitor Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness.

MICK McCARTHY WILL be at Fratton Park this evening to run the rule over three players who’ll be keen to leave a positive impression on the Republic of Ireland manager.

Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness could both feature for Portsmouth in the first round of the Carabao Cup as they play host to Birmingham City, for whom Dan Crowley might be involved in a game which is being broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Brentford v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship - Griffin Park Dan Crowley playing for Birmingham City in their win against Brentford on Saturday. Source: Daniel Hambury

Curtis and Harness both started for Portsmouth in wide attacking roles on Saturday as they kicked off their League One campaign with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town.

While twice-capped Curtis has become a regular in the Irish senior squad recently, Harness is looking to force his way in for the first time after McCarthy confirmed last month that the 23-year-old Coventry-born winger wishes to represent Ireland.

Dan Crowley is another English-born player hoping for his first taste of senior international football in a green shirt. The creative midfielder has pledged his allegiance to the Boys in Green, having represented both Ireland and England at underage level.

On the back of his impressive displays for Dutch top-flight outfit Willem II, the former Arsenal player was signed by Championship side Birmingham City this summer.

With Ireland assistant manager Terry Connor in attendance, Crowley marked his 22nd birthday on Saturday by helping his new club to a 1-0 victory against Brentford. 

“I’m going to the game [Portsmouth versus Birmingham City], hoping to see three players involved in Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Danny Crowley,” Mick McCarthy told the FAI website.

Dundalk v Qarabag - UEFA Champions League - Second Qualifying Round - First Leg - Oriel Park Mick McCarthy will be in Portsmouth tonight. Source: Brian Lawless

“Danny [Crowley] was watched by Terry Connor at Brentford on Saturday and Terry told me he was encouraged by what he saw. The game proved again that Danny has that forward-thinking mentality, he can see a pass and he can execute it.

“He played as the left-sided offensive midfielder in a 4-5-1 formation and hopefully I’ll get to see him play tonight, depending on what team Birmingham pick for the game. It’s a good start for him in the Championship but there’s a long season ahead for everyone in that league, as I well know!

“Marcus [Harness] and Ronan [Curtis] both started for Pompey at Shrewsbury on Saturday and I’d like to see both of them involved as well.”

Ahead of next month’s Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Switzerland, which will be followed by a friendly against Bulgaria, McCarthy also commented on the performances of James Collins and Nathan Collins (no relation) on the Championship’s opening weekend.

James Collins scored the equaliser for newly-promoted Luton Town in their 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough, who had Robbie Keane acting as assistant manager for the first time in a competitive game. The uncapped 28-year-old striker received his first Ireland call-up for the games against Gibraltar and Georgia back in March.

“I’ve spoken with Robbie Keane since the game on Friday night and he was impressed with James [Collins],” McCarthy said. “Terry Connor was there as well and noted that James was lively throughout what was a big game for Luton on their return to the Championship.

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Stoke City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship - bet365 Stadium Nathan Collins in possession for Stoke City during Saturday's game against QPR. Source: Dave Thompson

“James could easily have had the winner only for a very good save from Darren Randolph. We brought James in for the Gibraltar and Georgia games in March and we’ll see how he does now against Cardiff City this Saturday.”

Nathan Collins, who was recently handed a new five-year contract by Stoke City, played all 90 minutes at centre-back for the Potters in a 2-1 home defeat to QPR.

McCarthy, who tried to sign the 18-year-old during his time as Ipswich Town manager, revealed that he considered including the Ireland U19 international in his squad for the training camp in Portugal at the back-end of last season.

The Ireland boss said: “We’ll also monitor Nathan [Collins] for Stoke at Charlton Athletic on Saturday. We know all about Nathan – we wanted to sign him for Ipswich Town when he trained with us at Carton House a couple of summers ago – and we had him in our thoughts for the training camp in Portugal at the end of last season.

“Nathan took his first-team chance with Stoke at the end of last season and he is building on that now. He’s a big centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and he is making real progress. That’s great to see.”

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