McCarthy's absence paves way for Arter's Ireland selection

McCarthy out with a hamstring injury
McCarthy out with a hamstring injury

James McCarthy is out of the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Austria through injury, paving the way for Bournemouth's Harry Arter to start his first competitive international.

The Everton midfielder, who has found himself at the centre of a war of words between Ireland boss Martin O'Neill and club manager Ronald Koeman in recent days, will miss Saturday's Group D clash in Vienna with a hamstring problem.

That should ensure Arter makes his first competitive start for Ireland, with O'Neill confirming in recent comments to the media that he is planning to pick the 26-year-old Bournemouth star for the crunch game in Vienna.

McCarthy was one of four men ruled out of the game at the Ernst Happel Stadium through injury when O'Neill confirmed his squad on Monday evening, along with Burnley defender Stephen Ward, Derby counterpart Cyrus Christie and Reading midfielder Stephen Quinn.

A Football Association of Ireland statement said: "Injury has ruled out Cyrus Christie, Stephen Ward, James McCarthy and Stephen Quinn from the provisional squad, while some players will be assessed by the FAI medical staff."

McCarthy played for his country in the victories over both Georgia and Moldova last month after recovering from groin surgery, but returned to Merseyside to find Koeman was less than impressed.

He and O'Neill have since traded blows over the player with the Republic boss insisting he has always had the player's welfare in mind.

Sunderland defender John O'Shea is one of those who will be assessed as he fights his way back from a hamstring injury.

Christie had earlier revealed that he faces at least three months on the sidelines after breaking a bone in his right foot during Derby's 3-2 Sky Bet Championship win at Wolves on Saturday.

The Republic are currently level on points with group leaders Serbia after winning two and drawing the other of their opening three qualifiers.

Squad: Darren Randolph (West Ham), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Colin Doyle (Bradford), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle), Paul McShane (Reading), Shane Duffy (Brighton), Andy Boyle (Dundalk), Aiden McGeady (Preston), James McClean (West Brom), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O'Kane (Leeds), David Meyler (Hull), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham), Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen), Daryl Horgan (Dundalk), Jonathan Walters (Stoke), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), David McGoldrick (Ipswich).