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Six to watch: Irish players with points to prove this Premier League season

We take a look at those players aiming to make the breakthrough into Trap’s thoughts.

Pic: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Joe Mason

Cardiff City

Former youth international Mason has been linked with a move away from the newly-promoted Bluebirds this summer but manager Malky Mackay has insisted that the former Plymouth Argyle striker is very much part of his plans. Mason has bagged 15 goals in 35 starts for Cardiff in the Championship since signing in 2011 and a goalscoring run in the Premier League would surely catapult him into contention for a senior call-up before long.

Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

Owen Garvan

Crystal Palace

A pre-season knee injury threatened the hopes of the talented left-footed midfielder making Palace’s opening game of the season against Spurs but he looks to be winning the battle to be fit ahead of Saturday’s clash. The former Ipswich star signed for Palace back in 2010 and has become a fans’ favourite with his skillful displays. A goal-scoring player who weighed in with six assists in an injury-interrupted campaign last year, he has a Wes Houlihan-like ability to unlock a defence.

Mike Egerton/PA Archive/Press Association Images

David Meyler

Hull City

The tigerish (sorry) midfielder will face increased competition this season in the Hull engine room with capture this week of Tottenham duo, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore but Meyler established himself as a mainstay in Steve Bruce’s side last year and will hope to continue that run. The Cork native has overcome two cruciate ligament injuries in the last three years and after a promising start to his Premier League career with Sunderland in 2009/10, he will be hoping for a uninterrupted run in the coming months.

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Marc Wilson

Stoke City

Wilson will be hoping to impress the new supremo at the Britannica Stadium, Mark Hughes, as well as establishing himself in Giovanni Trapattoni’s side. The versatile Wilson originally moved to Stoke from Portsmouth as a midfielder but has played the majority of his games under former boss Tony Pulis in defence. The 25-year-old fought back into the Stoke and Ireland teams towards the end of last season after a bad leg break in 2012 and he will hope to continue that form into the new season.

Clive Gee/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Joey O’Brien

West Ham

A firm favourite of Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, who managed the Dubliner at Bolton and subsequently brought him to West Ham, O’Brien’s injury record hasn’t been the best in recent seasons. However last season he had the second-most starts of any outfield player (behind Kevin Nolan) and this could be the season that he finally establishes himself in the Irish team.  Five senior caps for a player of his quality is a poor return.

Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Shane Duffy

Everton

The former Northern Ireland youth international faces a massive season in his nascent career as for the first time in over a decade Everton enter a season without David Moyes at the helm. How the new manager Roberto Martinez take to the Derry-born star, only time will tell. A couple of impressive loan spells with Burnley and Scunthorpe helped secure a new contract with the Toffees in September 2012 but he will be hoping to get more Premier League appearances under his belt this season as he approaches his 22nd birthday.

Patrick McCarthy

Crystal Palace

A team-mate of Owen Garvan, Dubliner McCarthy has been at Palace since 2008 and is getting his chance at the age of 30 to experience life in the big leagues. McCarthy started out at Manchester City but he never made a first team appearance for the Blues, before moving onto Leicester City where he was made club captain soon after his arrival. In 2007 he joined Charlton but a year later crossed London to sign with Palace. He may be pushing on in age, but a good campaign for the Eagles may be enough to catch the eye of the Irish senior set-up.

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