Roy Keane: James McCarthy a doubt for Ireland's game against Moldova

Ireland assistant coach Roy Keane insists that Everton should take responsibility for James McCarthy's recurrent injury problems over the past year.

The former Wigan Athletic man is a doubt ahead of Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales. The 26-year-old has played no part for the Toffees this term with a persistent knee injury, and this has developed an increasingly tetchy stand-off over the fitness between club and country.

Speaking at a news conference, Keane appeared to put Everton at blame for the player's failure to overcome his problem, he said: "James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton so I don’t think we’ve anything to be worried about in terms of how much we push James. The medical staff are overseeing all of it and are in contact with Everton and all their scientists. I think they’ve more scientists involved than there needs to be. I always think clubs, as much as they look at what we’re doing, they certainly have to have look at what they are doing themselves. But James seems pretty upbeat and we’re glad to have him here."

Meanwhile, Martin O‘Neill has revealed that his medical team are assessing McCarthy’s fitness on a daily basis ahead of their crunch World Cup qualifier against Moldova on Friday night. Ireland suffered a disappointing set of results against Georgia (draw) and Serbia (loss) in their previous set of matches, and this has dropped them to third place in Group D with 13 points, one position and one point behind Wales, who occupy the playoff spot.

With just two games remaining, Ireland are in a must-win situation, and they will have to beat Moldova convincingly before facing Wales in a do-or-die clash next weekend. Group D is currently the worst performing group in terms of the second-placed sides, and Ireland will require some luck from other teams in order to finish in the top-eight.