Ireland will play host to Danny Blind’s team at the Aviva Stadium on Friday but could be without McCarthy, as well as Aston Villa defender Clark, as both players continue to recover from groin and ankle injuries respectively.
McCarthy took no part in Wednesday’s training in Abbotstown while Clark, who aggravated an existing ankle injury during Tuesday's session at the Aviva Stadium, started training but still needs to improve if he wants to play a part in Friday’s game against the Dutch.
"James McCarthy hasn’t trained yet and he came off in his final game for Everton but he’s getting better," Ireland boss Martin O’Neill told reporters. "He’s had some scans which proved to be negative which is good, and Ciaran Clark is not completely right but improving.
"They may not play in the game [on Friday]. I think that both in normal circumstances would like to get some training done before they step in to the game, but if they haven’t trained by tomorrow, I think I’m more or less likely not to put them into that game."
O’Neill said that team doctor Alan Byrne told him that McCarthy is improving, while the player himself is feeling confident that his injury should not be a problem for too much longer.
LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane took part in training for the first time this week, while Colorado Rapids forward Kevin Doyle and Hull City midfielder David Meyler will link up with the squad closer to the games.
O’Neill indicated that neither player would be at a disadvantage for not being present at this week’s training, but did say that midfield and attack are areas that will be trimmed when the final squad is announced either this weekend or after the Belarus game on Tuesday.
"Obviously there’s a couple of players that haven’t played an awful lot in centre midfield and that might be an area where we would certainly be having a look, and maybe wait until the second game [before naming the final squad.]," the former Celtic boss added.
"We may have to take one forward out but we’ve got some time as well too but we’ll have a look.
"With these players here at international level, they give up their time and energy and want to be involved, and it certainly wouldn’t be for the money, it’s for the glory.
"I’ve a few decisions to make, whether it’s at the weekend or whether we wait until the last couple of hours after the Belarus game, there will be disappointment and it certainly wouldn’t be easy for that reason, because these are international players who want to play for their country."
Ireland will have one more training session at the Football Association of Ireland headquarters in Abbotstown on Thursday before O’Neill names his squad to take on the Netherlands at the Aviva Stadium on Friday evening.