Republic of Ireland midfielder Harry Arter is in a race against time to stake a late claim to a place in Martin O’Neill’s squad of 23 for the European Championship finals in June.
The Bournemouth man missed the friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia with an Achilles injury, and manager Eddie Howe has raised the possibility Arter won’t return in time to play any further part in the club’s season run-in.
“Harry saw a specialist this week for his injury,” said Howe yesterday. “We are waiting to see the outcome from that before we know whether we will have him back with us this season.”
Arter is highly-rated by the Irish management and was reassured by O’Neill that missing the recent back-to- back friendly games would not preclude his remaining in contention for the Euros.
However, should he not be deemed fit enough to play against the Netherlands at the Aviva on May 27 then the chances of him making the cut for France would surely disappear – especially if O’Neill sticks with his pledge to name his squad the following day and before the final warm-up game against Belarus at Turner’s Cross on May 31.
Arter and Alan Judge had long been tipped as the fringe players with the best chance of gate-crashing the Euros panel, but the unfortunate Judge has already been definitively ruled out after breaking his leg while on duty for Brentford.
Hailing Judge’s nomination this week for Championship Player of the Year, Brentford manager Dean Smith said: “I’m really pleased he’s been recognised. I always felt he’d get called up for the Euros as there aren’t Irish players with the scoring and assists record he has.”
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