Glenn Whelan and James Collins have retained their places in Mick McCarthy's 23 strong squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia. McCarthy, though, has been forced into changes even as he sought to finalise the line up with both Ronan Curtis and Alan Browne both set to be ruled out by injury.
Curtis missed Portsmouth’s 3-2 win at Walsall on Tuesday night when it was confirmed that he had suffered a freak accident that required him to have surgery on a finger. Browne, meanwhile, limped out of Preston’s 2-1 win at Middlesbrough last night and McCarthy says that that does not expect either of them to be fit enough to join up with the squad next week.
“Curtis? He has no chance of being involved,” said the manager as he cut his initial list of 38 players to 23 at the announcement by the FAI of a new commercial partnership with betting firm SportPesa. “The finger has been pretty much amputated, as I understand it. I was pretty stoic in my day . . . but I don’t think that’s a runner. I talked to Browne today and he is not optimistic about it. I’ll be replacing them but I won’t be naming their replacements until I tell the players involved.”
Whelan returns having had a bit of a send off in November although the player, to be fair, never gave the slightest impression of wanting to go anywhere.
“Glenn is playing as well as anyone in the Championship, which is where a lot of the lads are playing.” said the manager. Collins, he acknowledged, may be tested by the step up to international football but the fact that he has been scoring goals regularly has at least earned him the opportunity to show McCarthy what he is capable of among others who are more used to the level.
James McCarthy misses out after having failed to break back into the team at Everton since his long injury lay-off while David Meyler, Cyrus Christie and Scott Hogan are amongst the other players omitted, at least for the moment.
Squad: Randolph (Middlesbrough), Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Travers (Bournemouth); Coleman (Everton), Doherty (Wolves), Keogh (Derby County), Egan (Sheffield Utd) Duffy (Bournemouth), Stevens (Sheffield Utd), Judge (Ipswich Town), Hendrick (Burnley), Hourihane (Aston Villa), Browne (Preston NE), Arter (Bournemouth/Cardiff City), Whelan (Aston Villa), Brady (Burnley), O’Dowda (Bristol City), McClean (Stoke City), Long (Southampton), Maguire (Preston NE), Curtis (Portsmouth), McGoldrick (Sheffield Utd), Collins (Luton Town).