Sadlier's call-up in vain


SQUAD NEWS: With Steve Carr having already admitted defeat in his fitness battle and Gary Doherty now looking as though his chance has passed, Millwall's Richard Sadlier briefly looked set to provide us with the great comeback story of this World Cup build-up yesterday when, after twice being reported to be out for the rest of the season, he was a surprise inclusion in Mick McCarthy's squad for next week's game against the United States.

However, yesterday morning, even before he knew of his call-up, the 22-year-old admitted that his dream of making the Irish travelling party for Japan was over. He has booked himself in for an operation later this month on a torn rib musclethat has been troubling him for the best part of two seasons.

When then informed that he was one of McCarthy's 24 for next Wednesday's game at Lansdowne Road he joked that "this changes everything, I'll be fine after all".

But he quickly conceded: "I wouldn't imagine that I'll be able to travel, although it is nice that I'm in his (McCarthy's) thoughts and it's encouraging for next season, I'm having the operation on the 24th and my doctor tells me there's a 10- to 12-week rehab after it so I should be fine by the time it (the season) starts."

After hearing the news McCarthy said it was as a pity as, after seeing that he was back playing again recently he wanted to have another look. "I was aware that he had a problem, though, so it's not a complete surprise."

Aside from Sadlier, Rory Delap is the only player called up who had not been included in squad for the Denmark game. The Southampton midfielder is included in the absence of Lee Carsley, Mark Kennedy and Roy Keane, all ruled out by injury.

"It's been a while since he's been with us, but Rory's been doing well at his club lately and he's a versatile player," said McCarthy. "We don't know who is going to get injured so it's important to keep people involved.

"I think he lost out initially because of injury and then Steven Reid came in and did well. The fact that there's that sort of competition now is great for me but not for some of the players. We'll have a look at Rory, but whatever happens, it's worth remembering that the international scene doesn't end with this World Cup."

Alan Kelly is absent, but McCarthy confirmed that the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper is due to play reserve-team games this evening and on Monday. "They'll do him more good than being here with us and if he's fit he'll travel. Nicky (Colgan) knows the situation," McCarthy added.

Mark Kennedy expects to play in Wolves' last league game and, if necessary, in promotion play-offs and so remains in contention.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (Squad v USA): Given (Newcastle United), Kiely (Charlton Athletic), Colgan (Hibernian), Staunton (Aston Villa), Harte (Leeds Unirted), Dunne (Manchester City), Breen (Coventry City), O'Brien (Newcastle United), Kelly (Leeds United), Cunningham (Wimbledon), Finnan (Fulham), McAteer (Sunderland), Holland (Ipswich Town), Kilbane (Sunderland), Kinsella (Charlton Athletic), Reid (Millwall), Healy (Celtic/Coventry City), Delap (Southampton), Quinn (Sunderland), Robbie Keane (Leeds United), Morrison (Crystal Palace), Duff (Blackburn Rovers), Connolly (Wimbledon), Sadlier (Millwall).