Troy Parrott and James McCarthy look like missing out on Ireland’s Euro play-off against Slovakia after manager Mick McCarthy insisted they both have a queue ahead of them to jump.
While Parrott is on the fringes of the Tottenham team, appearing last Sunday off the bench, and McCarthy has played the last eight Premier League games for Crystal Palace, the Ireland boss will primarily remain loyal when he unveils his 23-man squad on March 13.
Shane Long is set to benefit from a revival at Southampton with a seat on the plane to Bratislava for the Euro play-off semi-final.
Others, particularly the emerging stars, are struggling to press their claims.
“Troy has got no chance of making the squad unless he’s playing,” stressed McCarthy.
“Forget it; don’t even think about it. Unless, of course, Troy gets in over the weekend and does something amazing. If he come on for five minutes and scores two goals, I might look at it different.
“Troy got three minutes against Wolves and will on the bench tonight. But I could sit on the bench and I’m 61.
“Shane Long’s been playing in the Premier League and Scott Hogan has scored six goals in the last seven games. David McGoldrick is back playing. I don’t think Troy comes close to them.
“If I played somebody like that, you’d think I was bonkers. How can you justify that? Just that he’s potentially a good footballer.
“Look, where has Aaron Connolly gone? He’s disappeared. I saw Michael Obafemi playing for Southampton against Burnley and he did okay in the game.
“He’s a kid who hasn’t got much game-time. And this match against Slovakia is huge. It is one for experienced players.”
Palace midfielder McCarthy is firmly behind Fleetwood Town’s Glenn Whelan in the manager’s view.
“Does James do any more than Glenn Whelan does?” asked the manager rhetorically.
“No, he doesn’t. He sits in front of the back four, does it nice and simple, breaks things up.
“I’ve been happy with the midfield players. We’ll see what comes over the weekend before I name the squad.”
Despite Uefa actively discussing back-up plans in the face of the raging Coronavirus, such as staging the play-offs behind closed doors, McCarthy isn’t occupying his thoughts with such alterations.
“It’s out of my hands or is it on my hands!” he said.
“The Scotland manager Steve Clarke is not here today because it was unnecessary risk. I’m not going to knock them for doing that but I’m not going to sit at home on my hands and not come?
“All I can do is have a look at Slovakia, analysing what we can do against them, and their strengths and weaknesses.
“It won’t matter wherever we play them. If they move it to a neutral venue, well, where is neutral? I haven’t heard that Slovakia has it yet so maybe that’s the only neutral place.”
McCarthy was speaking in Amsterdam where he attended the Nations League draw which saw Ireland grouped with Wales, Finland, and Bulgaria.
Stephen Kenny will be in charge by the time the games kick off in September but but Uefa protocols meant the current boss had to attend the ceremony.
“That draw was as good as we could have got. If Stephen Kenny was watching back home he will be very happy,” McCarthy said.
Group 1: Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland.
Group 2: England, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland.
Group 3: Portugal, France, Sweden, Croatia.
Group 4: Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, Germany.
Group 1: Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, Romania.
Group 2: Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, Israel.
Group 3: Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary.
Group 4: Wales, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria.
Group 1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Monetenegro.
Group 2: Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, Georgia.
Group 3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece.
Group 4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania.
Group 1: Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra, Malta
Group 2: San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar