Westwood ruled out but Arter is on track to return

Updated / Monday, 2 Oct 2017 19:09

Sean Maguire in Ireland training on Monday

Keiren Westwood has been ruled out of the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales, but Harry Arter is confident he'll be ready to go after struggling with an Achilles injury.

Sean Maguire, Aiden O’Brien and Scott Hogan have been named in the finalised squad. Westwood has failed to overcome a rib injury so Colin Doyle will be the third choice goalkeeper for the games.

Kevin Doyle announced his retirement from football last week on medical advice.

There are a number of injury concerns including James McCarthy, who Martin O'Neill has not yet ruled out despite not playing in the Premier League this season.

David McGoldrick has had a scan on a hamstring complaint but "seems to be fine" according to O'Neill.

There are more worries which the Irish boss said will be assessed later in the week, but the positive news on Arter - who missed Bournemouth's draw with Leicester on Saturday - is a welcome lift.

"Harry didn't play at the weekend," said O'Neill. 

"He thinks he'll be ready to go on Friday. Eunan O'Kane has cracked ribs but he played with a pain-killing injection for Leeds at the weekend.

"We'll see how he is. Shane Long got a dead leg at the weekend. We'll see how he is as well but he's not feeling too bad.

"This is what you play for. We have two games, we have to win both matches.

"I can't concern myself about the second game against Wales. We have to put all our energy into the first match on Friday night to try to win that game so that the second match will mean something."

Scott Hogan will hope for his first senior cap against Moldova or Wales

McCarthy hasn't managed a single minute of competitive football for club Everton this season as he attempts to shake off a persistent knee injury, and he has been warned by manager Ronald Koeman to put club before country after being called up by Ireland.

Koeman and O'Neill have been engaged in something of a feud since McCarthy aggravated a hamstring injury on international duty in March having earlier arrived with a groin problem.

However, the player trained with the rest of the Ireland squad in Dublin on Monday afternoon and while O'Neill admits he will be cautious, he has not given up hope of having the midfielder available to Moldova's visit to the Aviva Stadium on Friday and the trip to Cardiff which follows it.

Asked if he was ruling McCarthy out, the manager said: "Well, I don't think so, no - and he doesn't want to be ruled out at the moment.

"We'll have to really look at that very, very carefully and see how he is. He has trained now for quite a number of days and he has joined in with the first team at Everton as well, so we'll see how he is and take it on a day-to-day basis.

"Personally speaking, I would have thought that given the amount of time that James has been out - and he picked up the injury at club level - I would have thought that Everton would be quite pleased that he is out of the environment for a little while, training with the international boys and seeing how things go.

"And beyond that, if he's feeling pretty decent, then I would have thought that that's something that Everton would have been quite looking forward to."

Republic of Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), Colin Doyle (Bradford City)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Middlesbrough), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Kevin Long, Stephen Ward (Burnley)

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady (Burnley), James McCarthy (Everton), David Meyler (Hull City), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O'Kane (Leeds United), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Jonathan Hayes (Celtic), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), Daryl Horgan (Preston North End)

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Nottingham Forest), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa), Aiden O'Brien (Millwall)