Arter a doubt for Ire­land’s fi­nal two World Cup qual­i­fiers

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - EMMET MALONE

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.

Se­nior de­buts

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

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