The Bafana Bafana forward put pen to paper with the Citizens earlier this month, but is yet to take to the field for his new team as he works on his fitness, having been out of the game for over a year since going AWOL at previous Turkish club Genclerbirligi.
The 28-year-old trained apart from the rest of the squad on Tuesday, with McCarthy giving the reasons why while remaining hopeful of his availability for the weekend’s MTN8 showdown.
“We are hopeful,” the City head coach told reporters. “He’s been mainly working with the fitness coach and the physio as he’s had a setback. We pushed him really hard because we wanted him to get back into shape and the level where we know he can hurt teams in this league as he’s one of the best strikers out there in the country. And we want him at his best, but by pushing him he’s had a couple of setbacks. His hamstring is a bit tight, so we’ve now reduced his workload to see how he responds.
“If we get the ‘okay’ by tomorrow then hopefully we can go into Thursday with the possibility that he might be there. I’m not saying he’s going to be there, but there might be the possibility that he might be there and we might have him available for a cameo appearance.”
City head into the final with another injury concern in winger Surprise Ralani, while Taariq Fielies will miss out on the final in Durban following his red card in a league encounter against Kaizer Chiefs.
“Surprise is touch-and-go and, like Rantie, is training apart from the team,” McCarthy said. “Those are the only two with injury worries, but we have to wait until Thursday to see if we’ll have them available.”
City travel to Durban on Thursday, with the final taking place at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 19h00.