Marco Silva welcomes James McCarthy’s return to Ireland squad

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He's not started a game for a long time but I think he's one of our best midfield players. "Regardless of the level they are playing at, if there is someone who is scoring 20 goals a season and a chance falls their way there's a good chance they will put it in the net and that's exactly how I was thinking".

Three players are receiving their first call-up with Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers, Luton Town's James Collins and Newport's Padraig Amond all included.

"He is fit and playing in the Championship and is playing very well so I am not going to dismiss him, that's for sure".

"My last contact with him was Saturday morning after he scored for Leeds".

Newport County's FA Cup hero Padraig Amond is also a surprise inclusion in the provisional 38-man squad. At least there is some understanding of playing together with those two.

"I asked him if he wanted to continue with Ireland and he said "yes" so I am hoping to meet him".

Jimmy Dunne
Jimmy Dunne

The centre-forward, who has scored 11 goals in 34 appearances since moving to Bramall Lane during the close season, joins Enda Stevens, John Egan and the on-loan Scott Hogan in Mick McCarthy's plans for the forthcoming games against Gibraltar and Georgia.

"I'd love to have him back and I've stressed that to him".

McCarthy has also been in touch with Daryl Murphy about the Nottingham Forest striker coming out of retirement. McCarthy had previously said that he was eager to meet Bamford but had found it hard with the busy schedules they both had.

"He's at an age where he likes to have that time off when the global breaks come". I did say that "If I need you and I called you.' and I think the final answer was 'We'll see" so it wasn't a no.

"Hopefully we can see him before we travel to Gibraltar, that's not setting him a deadline but that's the hope".

The Republic face Gibraltar away on 23 March and Georgia at home on 26 March.

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