Nigel Worthington’s plans for next month’s World Cup qualifier in San Marino have received a welcome boost.
With three points vital if qualifications hopes for the 2010 finals in South Africa are to be maintained, George McCartney’s return to training at Sunderland has come at a good time for the international boss.
When the left-back underwent surgery on both feet the week before Christmas there were concerns that he could be missing for eight weeks, ruling him out of the San Marino game, but the 27-year-old is now targeting that game as he begins his comeback.
“To come back to Sunderland and be out injured for so long has been really disappointing,” said McCartney, who rejoined the Black Cats from West Ham just before the August transfer window closed.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to help the team out sooner rather than later.”
McCartney hasn’t played since November 1 and missed Northern Ireland’s friendly defeat by Hungary.