Football

'Scott Has Really Got Himself Back Into The Picture For Slovakia'

'Scott Has Really Got Himself Back Into The Picture For Slovakia'

In a change to the norm, Irish players, and strikers in particular, scoring goals looks as though it's slipped down Mick McCarthy list of common worries.

On Saturday, Shane Long scored his third goal in recent weeks as Southampton beat Aston Villa. A tier down, Scott Hogan, on loan from Villa at Birmingham, hit his fourth goal in five games.

"I can have no complaints about the flow of goals at present," McCarthy told the FAI website.

Shane has played himself right back into the reckoning at Southampton, not because of his two goals in recent weeks but because he is playing week in and week out and showing the benefits of that.

Scott has really got himself back into the picture for Slovakia with his goals for Birmingham and his finish on Saturday was top class and timely while Terry [Connor] was impressed with Callum [Robinson's] all-round game against Bristol City as well as with his ‘lucky’ header for his second goal in as many games.

Alan Browne used his head as well for his goal. We just need them all to keep playing and keep scoring going into March.

Enda Stevens scored a sensational goal for Sheffield United on Saturday as they drew with Brighton. Stevens was taken off at half-time but McCarthy is confident that he will be available for next month's playoff.

"It was a hell of a shot from Enda," said McCarthy.

"I’ve seen it described as a screamer on one report and that’s exactly what it was. Enda has been on top form for Sheffield United and for Ireland all season and it’s nice to see him amongst the goals now as well.

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"We’ll take goals from anywhere in Bratislava at the end of March so the more Irish players scoring right now, the better as far as I’m concerned.

"As for his injury, he was taken off more as a precaution than anything else and Chris Wilder hopes to have Enda available for the Premier League game against Norwich on Saturday week.

"If he gets back in time for that one then he will have plenty of time for first team action before we meet up in Dublin on March 24th."

Over the weekend, McCarthy took in Derby and Fulham's Friday night draw in the Championship where he saw Jason Knight and Harry Arter on opposite sides. He was also at Selhurst Park on the following day to watch James McCarthy in action for Crystal Palace against Newcastle.

"Jason is doing well at Derby and he has really made the first team breakthrough this season which is great for us,” McCarthy said.

"James did exactly what I knew he would do for Palace. He does the simple things well, sits in front of the back four and controls things for them. Like Shane at Southampton, he is benefitting from regular first team football."

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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