The retired centre-back reckons that the Buccaneers have an upper hand heading into the clash which will take place at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium as they are fresh from three wins in all competitions.
“Yes, it's good that both teams have won convincingly during the week, but can we see Pirates giving Sundowns six for revenge? I doubt,” McCarthy told Goal.
“It's a big motivation for Sundowns to win in the week following their loss in the Telkom Knockout Cup, but the Buccaneers are favourites to win this one,” he added.
“It's not going to be easy I must say. Sundowns can win this game to show that they are the champions and are trying to defend the title, and also rectify the errors they made during their game with Baroka,” he explained.
The former Bafana Bafana international also touched on the fact that the Brazilians are oozing with confidence with striker Jeremy Brockie having netted his first goal since joining against Free State Stars in midweek.
“I think it's a big motivation for him; a good one. I think it's fair to say not only to him but to the team as a whole because I respect him as one of the most intelligent strikers in the league. Even if goals were not coming for him, you could see there was an understanding between him and (Sibusiso) Vilakazi,” he noted.
“It's disappointing to see Vila injured because that will be a step back for Brockie as he is trying to form a bond with the likes of (Lebohang) Maboe, (Themba Zwane) Mshishi and (Gaston) Sirino,” he explained.
“You know they still have to find combinations, but he is a professional and will do well because he is now motivated to score against Pirates – it's a big game and will want to score again,” McCarthy said.
The Vryburg-born legend reiterated that Bucs are strong favourites because they have been winning and they also have good combinations whilst the same cannot be about Pitso Mosimane's side.
“If you ask me, Pirates are favourites because they have goals. They are playing good football and they are winning – they look strong,” he explained.
“They have a strong starting eleven and their bench can change the game at any given day. There is the Rulani (Mokwena) effect because he knows Sundowns and their game,” continued the former defender.
“There is no doubt that Pirates will look to continue to dominate against the top teams and they will also want to beat Bidvest Wits, who are title contenders,” said the former Bloemfontein Celtic defender.
“However, both Sundowns and Pirates are struggling to keep clean sheets, but let's hope for a good game with goals,” he concluded.