KEVIN DOYLE COULD make his long-awaited return from injury at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light tomorrow, just three weeks before the Republic of Ireland’s crunch Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia.
The striker has been named by Wolves boss Mick McCarthy in the squad for his side’s penultimate league game as the Molineux outfit battle to secure their Premiership status for another season.
Doyle has been out of action since late March when he damaged the medial ligaments in his left knee during the first half of Ireland’s 2-1 win over Macedonia. At the time, it appeared that the Wexford man would be out for at least eight weeks, ruling him out of next month’s return leg in Skopje.
A quicker-than-anticipated recovery now means that the 27-year-old is now likely to feature in his club’s final two games, however briefly, before joining up with Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad ahead of the Carling Nations Cup games against Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Speaking yesterday, McCarthy refused to be drawn on whether or not Doyle might be fit to start against Steve Bruce’s side tomorrow, telling reporters that they would have to wait and see.
“He’s been out for seven weeks,” he said. “Does someone come back and are they as good after seven weeks? I’m not sure they do.”
Doyle was a bit of a talisman so there are all those things to consider and, at 11.45am tomorrow, you’ll find out what I’ve decided.
You can speculate all you like.
One player singled out for praise by McCarthy was one of Doyle’s new international team-mates, Stephen Ward, who was handed his first international call-up by Giovanni Trapattoni earlier this month.
“With losing him [Doyle], we’ve had to change the way we play and thankfully for me one of the guys you can’t give enough praise to is Stephen Ward,” McCarthy said.
He has been playing with Fletch [Steven Fletcher] and I think Fletch appreciates the graft he puts in and maybe Fletch is getting the rewards from him.
Having Doyler fit was great at that time but the two lads up front have been excellent.