Arter a doubt for Ireland’s final two World Cup qualifiers
Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter’s chances of featuring for Ireland in the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales took a knock yesterday as his club manager Eddie Howe confirmed that the 27-year-old will miss this weekend’s Premier League game against Leicester City.
Arter missed last Saturday’s trip to Goodison Park and Martin O’Neill confirmed on Tuesday that the midfielder is regarded as a doubt for the Ireland games due to a calf strain but the manager was still hoping at that point that the player might be regarded as fit enough to make the club’s matchday squad yesterday.
However, Howe confirmed yesterday that the Ireland international will watch the game from the stands. “Harry Arter will also miss out,” he said. “The problem isn’t a serious one, but he is injured and hasn’t trained with the group this week.”
Problem not ‘serious’
O’Neill seems unlikely to rule Arter out on that basis himself and the player may well be brought into Dublin, if only to be assessed by the FAI’s own medical staff, but despite the admission that the problem is not “serious” the fact that he has not trained at his club in more than a week casts much greater doubt on his participation in these two critically important qualifying games.
Ireland are already without James McCarthy who Ronald Koeman said today needs to edge his way back to competition action via the club’s under-23 side after such a long time out.
Koeman, who has clashed with O’Neill over McCarthy before, accepted earlier this week that the FAI would be entitled to bring the midfielder in so as to assess his fitness for themselves but he was scathing regarding the chances of the 26-year-old sticking around with the Dutchman insisting that the player needed to put his club first in the circumstances.
Keiren Westwood also looks to be out of the World Cup games. Again, O’Neill acknowledged as he was naming his squad that the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper was a doubt for the qualifiers after fracturing a rib in his club’s recent Championship game against Cardiff.
But Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal has confirmed that the Ireland international will miss tomorrow’s game against Leeds.
Meanwhile, Noel King has named midfielders Jake Doyle Hayes and Des Hutchinson in his squad for the upcoming Under-21 European Championship qualifiers against Norway and Israel with the pair both having made senior debuts for their English clubs in recent weeks.
Aston Villa’s Doyle Hayes, from Cavan, is just 18 but started the Championship side’s League Cup game against Wigan in August and has since played 90 minutes in the second round defeat by Middlesborough. He recently signed a new three year contract with the club.
Hutchinson, a 20 year-old from Waterford, played the entirety of Brighton’s narrow defeat by Bournemouth, also in the League Cup.
Trevor Clarke of Shamrock Rovers and Galway United’s Rory Hale are also added to the squad that travelled to Azerbaijan where King’s side, who had already beaten Kosovo at home, won 3-1 to go top of their group.
“We go into the games top of the group and the squad have shown real promise in our first two matches,” said King, whose side have yet to meet top seeds Germany.
The games will both be played in Tallaght with next Thursday’s against Norway kicking off at 7.45 while the Israel match is at 3.30 the following Monday.
Harry Arter: on the bench for Ireland games due to a calf strain