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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

James McCarthy will be treading a Merseyside derby tightrope at Selhurst Park on Saturday after picking up his fourth caution of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.

The booking means the midfielder would miss the sold-out visit of Liverpool on Saturday 23 November if he were to pick up a fifth yellow card of the campaign against managerless Crystal Palace.

Even if he avoids the referee's book on Saturday, the Republic of Ireland international must go until 31 December without collecting another yellow card if he is to avoid triggering a one-match ban.

After that date, prior bookings do not count towards any future suspensions.

Currently, Ross Barkley and Tim Howard have both been booked three times this season, meaning the pair must avoid picking up a further two cautions in the Blues' remaining nine games of 2013.

McCarthy's first booking of the season actually came on the opening day while playing in Wigan Athletic's 4-0 win over Barnsley.

The 22-year-old has subsequently seen yellow in three games for Everton, against Fulham, Aston Villa and now Spurs.

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