Martinez sweating over McCarthy

James McCarthy

James McCarthy

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ROBERTO Martinez faces an anxious 24 hours to discover the extent of the ankle injury suffered by James McCarthy against Villarreal yesterday.

The 20-year-old limped off at the start of the second half after a heavy challenge to the same ankle he damaged against Bolton last term, when he was sidelined for three months.

McCarthy will be scanned today – with a huge question mark over his availability for the big Premier League opener against Norwich next Saturday.

“We are a bit concerned about James, although the good thing is he doesn’t seem to be as bad as we originally thought,” Martinez told the Evening Post last night.

“The ankle is clearly something he has had trouble with in the past, and it was a late challenge that caught him again this time.

“As a result the ankle caught in the turf, and we’ll find out the full extent in the next 24 hours – although we are remaining quietly optimistic.”

Victor Moses was once again the star of the show against Villarreal, the winger popping up with the only goal on the stroke of half-time after good work by Franco di Santo.

“Victor was lively throughout the game, and he was a real threat,” Martinez added.

“His link-up play with Franco was pretty good in the first half, and Franco showed great generosity in playing him in for the goal.

“But I felt the clean sheet was probably an even bigger achievement than the goal, because Villarreal know how to hurt a team and they were dangerous for the full 90 minutes.

Martinez also confirmed he intends to bring in a couple of new faces ahead of the closing of the transfer window on August 31, with one possibility – trialist Nouha Dicko – making a late cameo yesterday.

“As everyone knows we have lost Charlie (N’Zogbia), Tom (Cleverley) and Mauro (Boselli), and that means we are light in numbers,” Martinez revealed.

“Obviously we need to replace them, and we are going to work as hard as we can over the next three weeks to make sure we bring the right characters into the club.

“But to be talking about new signings now is completely wrong – we need to be talking about the group of players we already have here that we are constantly trying to help.”