Mick McCarthy is considering delaying a decision on the make-up of his final squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland and the friendly against Bulgaria, amid concerns about the impact of injuries and the amount of game-time some of those in contention are getting with their clubs.
“Our main concern at the moment is still about players getting games but Darren Randolph and Keiren Westwood are playing well, the four Sheffield United players are all starting as is Scott Hogan while Robbie Brady is still recovering from his rib injury,” said the Ireland manager.
“I’ll probably see where we are after the League Cup games next week before making a final decision on the squad for Switzerland and after that, we can always add players from the provisional squad for the Bulgaria game.”
Jeff Hendrick, who has yet to start a Premier League match this season, played for Burnley in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday, and McCarthy is hoping the midfielder sees more significant action for his club in the coming days.
“Jeff needs to get game time into his legs so it was great he played in the game on Wednesday,” McCarthy told FAI.ie. “I have no doubts about Jeff’s ability or his fitness, he has covered so much ground for us in this European Championship already as the stats prove, but like all our players, he needs to play.
“He might feature against Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday and Jeff should be involved in the League Cup game at home to Sunderland next Wednesday night which we will have scouted. I might just delay naming the final squad until after those League Cup games on Tuesday and Wednesday night to see how our players get on.”
McCarthy had praise for Jack Byrne’s two goals for Shamrock Rovers at Waterford on Monday night while the manager also received what have been described as “glowing reports” on Harry Arter’s performance for Fulham in their 4-0 win at home to Millwall on Wednesday.
Also mentioned in positive reports was Ireland prospect Marcus Harness after the winger impressed for Portsmouth against Sunderland on Saturday and Coventry City on Tuesday.
McCarthy himself was at The Valley on Wednesday where he was clearly much taken with Josh Cullen’s performance for Charlton in their 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
“Josh was brilliant,” said McCarthy. “He has really taken to the Championship since he went back to Charlton on loan from West Ham and he was busy throughout Wednesday night’s game, playing in their diamond and getting forward at every opportunity. I was really impressed with him.
“Harry was really good against Millwall and I am going to have a look at him myself on Saturday when Fulham are at home to Forest, while Jack’s two goals at Waterford on Monday were very special.
“Robbie Keane was at Preston on Wednesday for their 3-1 win against Stoke and while Sean Maguire didn’t play because of a concussion, he should be fit for the Sheffield Wednesday game this weekend. Terry Connor saw Callum O’Dowda play for 35 minutes in Bristol City’s win against Richard Keogh and Derby on Tuesday, and Marcus Harness really impressed our scouts so that’s something to think about.”
Also being closely monitored is Spurs starlet Troy Parrott who celebrated his first senior call-up to the provisional squad with two goals for the Tottenham Under-23 side in a 3-1 win against Manchester City, before his good night was spoiled when he was forced off through injury.
“Troy got a dead leg in that match and we are in touch with the medical team at Spurs to see how he is doing,” said McCarthy. “He is still a doubt for their Under-23 match against Derby at Enfield on Friday afternoon but Terry Connor is going to the game.”