Cahill Close, Mark Delaney Still Out
Gary Cahill, slayer of Blue Noses, is pushing for a return following a lengthy spell out after picking up a knee injury in the pre-season game against FC Groningen.
Martin O'Neill said: 'The better news is that Gary trained with Alan Smith on Monday and we're hoping that if things go well during the week, and he's running pain-free at the minute, that he could join in with the squad that is not away on international duty next week. That would be really great and that's what we are looking at, at the moment.'
Meanwhile the news for Mark Delaney isn't quite so good as he faces more time out after he underwent more surgery on his troublesome knee. Martin O'Neill certainly isn't ruling out the 30-year-old Wales international though, despite the fact his contract runs out in the summer.
O'Neill told the official site: 'He got his cartilage trimmed up, so he'll be out for a few weeks but it is better sorting it out now than waiting around. He's had terrible luck. The only games he has played since I have been here have been the games for Wales.'
Adding 'It's down to wear and tear. Some footballers can get away with less problems than he is enduring but it is a problem for him.'
On the defenders chances of securing a long term deal he says 'It would be too early to make an assessment. You are hoping that this injury, if the cartilage needed trimming up, then in four, five of six weeks time he could get back to playing. I think that everything will depend on him playing pretty regularly in the first team, which he is capable of doing. A fit Mark Delaney would be an asset to us.'