Scouting Report: Double Collins impact for Ireland
And new Birmingham City midfielder Danny Crowley could get a chance to build on his ‘encouraging’ start for The Blues in front of the Irish boss on Tuesday night.
James Collins scored the equaliser in Luton Town’s 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough last Friday night when a stunning Darren Randolph save denied the Irish striker a winner.
And Nathan Collins started at the heart of the Stoke City defence, alongside left-back James McClean, as they went down 2-1 at home to QPR on Saturday.
“I’ve spoken with Robbie Keane since the game on Friday night and he was impressed with James [Collins],” McCarthy told FAI.ie in his latest scouting report.
“Terry Connor [assistant coach] was there as well and noted that James was lively throughout what was a big game for Luton on their return to the Championship.
“James could easily have had the winner only for a very good save from Darren Randolph. We brought James in for the Gibraltar and Georgia games in March and we’ll see how he does now against Cardiff City this Saturday.
“We’ll also monitor Nathan [Collins] for Stoke at Charlton Athletic on Saturday. We know all about Nathan – we wanted to sign him for Ipswich Town when he trained with us at Carton House a couple of summers ago – and we had him in our thoughts for the training camp in Portugal at the end of last season.
“Nathan took his first-team chance with Stoke at the end of last season and he is building on that now. He’s a big centre-back who is comfortable on the ball and he is making real progress. That’s great to see.”
Crowley, who only appeared as a late substitute for Willem II when McCarthy went to watch him in the Dutch Cup Final last May, got 72 minutes on the pitch for new club Birmingham in their 1-0 win at Brentford on Saturday.
McCarthy hopes to see the player for himself when he takes in the Portsmouth-Birmingham City EFL Cup clash at Fratton Park on Tuesday night.
“I’m going to the game hoping to see three players involved in Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Danny Crowley,” added McCarthy.
“Danny [Crowley] was watched by Terry Connor at Brentford on Saturday and Terry told me he was encouraged by what he saw. The game proved again that Danny has that forward thinking mentality, he can see a pass and he can execute it.
“He played as the left-sided offensive midfielder in a 4-5-1 formation and hopefully I’ll get to see him play tonight, depending on what team Birmingham pick for the game. It’s a good start for him in the Championship but there’s a long season ahead for everyone in that League as I well know!
“Marcus [Harness] and Ronan [Curtis] both started for Pompey at Shrewsbury on Saturday and I’d like to see both of them involved as well.”
With the Premier League kicking off this weekend, McCarthy is off to Bournemouth for their opening game with promoted Sheffield United on Saturday.
McCarthy said: “With Callum Robinson moving from Preston in the summer there’s now a chance I could see four of our players start for Sheffield United with Enda Stevens, John Egan and David McGoldrick already there.
“And Mark Travers could feature in the Bournemouth squad as well. The important thing for all our players now is to get game-time ahead of the game against Switzerland in September.
“Alan Browne, Sean Maguire and Callum O’Dowda all played at the weekend for their clubs in the Championship. That’s the important thing now ahead of Switzerland, we need our players fit and playing.”