Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy was due to undergo another scan on his injured hamstring on Wednesday afternoon with the Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland looming.
The Everton man, who celebrated his 24th birthday with a gentle stroll around the training pitch under the close attention of doctor Alan Byrne at a rain-soaked Gannon Park as his team-mates continued their preparation, is being given every chance to prove his fitness ahead of Friday’s clash at Celtic Park.
Asked about the Glasgow-born midfielder’s fitness, manager Martin O’Neill said: “James is obviously feeling better each day.
“He didn’t do any work today – he’s going for another scan this afternoon, which is kind of an update – but he is feeling better, so we will see what tomorrow might bring.
“Remember, it’s only a few days since the injury and there’s a possibility, obviously, of trying to join in now in the next couple of days.
“But that’s all it was, it was just a walk with the doctor.”
McCarthy complained of tightness in the hamstring which kept him out of last month’s internationals against Oman and Germany during the Toffees’ 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Sunderland on Sunday, but reported to be assessed by the Republic’s medical team.
However, O’Neill insisted his only consideration is whether or not a man who has emerged as one of his key players in the last 12 months is fit to play.
He said: “If he is fit to play and wants to play, that’s fine; if he’s not, then fine. He is improving.”
Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan was able to train once again on Wednesday as he continued his recovery from the leg fracture he suffered in Germany, although O’Neill is in no mood to make hasty decisions on any of his walking wounded.
He said: “We will see, we will see what tomorrow might bring. We have got tomorrow – tomorrow is Thursday and the game is not until Friday night.”