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Football: Finnan out but at least Mick can start Carr.

Byline: PAUL DOWLING

STEVE Finnan's loss could be Stephen Carr's gain.

And the situation may well save Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy some headache.

Finnan is almost certain to miss the the Euro 2004 warm up game against Finland in Helsinki on August 21 because of an ankle injury.

The 26 year old twisted his ankle in a friendly against Carshalton.

And the Limerick born defender is also set to miss Fulham's opening Premiership game against Bolton Wanderers on August 17.

"It is not possible for Steve to play in the first game and that is a problem for me.

"He might be able to come back in training in about nine days time," said Fulham manag a pounds 600,000 buy from Notts County in 1998, only recently returned to training after enhancing his status at the World Cup in June with a string of fine displays.

After coming on as a substitute against Cameroon, he started the other two group games against Germany and Saudi Arabia as well as the second round clash with Spain.

Last season, he featured in all 38 League games for Tigana's men and was rewarded by his fellow professionals by being named in the PFA team of the year.

In a twist of irony, it was Dubliner Carr who received the same nomination 12 months previously.

Carr was ruled out of the World Cup with a knee problem.

He has, however, played a full part in Tottenham's pre-season build up.

After solid appearances against Stevenage Borough and QPR, he came through his first 90 minutes unscathed as the White Hart Lane men defeated Crystal Palace 4-0 at Selhurst Park two days ago.

These performances have brought glowing praise from Spurs manager Glenn Hoddle about his return to form.

It looks likely now that Carr could be capitulated back into the number two green jersey as a replacement for Finnan.

CAPTION(S):

IN AGAIN: Stephen Carr; RULED OUT: Defender Steve Finnan
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2002
Words:328
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