Q Radio Sport
Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has confirmed at least five players named in his original squad will not be making the trip to Switzerland and Bulgaria this month due to injury.
Dundee United goalkeeper Trevor Carson, Heart of Midlothian defender Michael Smith, Preston North End midfielder Alistair McCann, Oxford United winger Gavin Whyte and Blackpool striker Shayne Lavery have all withdrawn from the 26-strong panel for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers in Geneva and Sofia respectively.
The Northern Ireland boss said: “We’ve dealt with injuries coming into a number of previous camps and, unfortunately, this one is no different.
“But this is a resolute group that has come together through adversity and I have no doubt they will do it again.
“We are still waiting for a few players to join us and we look forward to a few days training in Belfast before we fly out to Switzerland.”
Leicester City defender Jonny Evans has yet to join up, however the manager is hopeful his vice-captain will be with the group in the coming days.
Baraclough has called up Liverpool goalkeeper Liam Hughes, Leyton Orient striker Paul Smyth, Sunderland midfielder Carl Winchester and Morecambe defender Ryan McLaughlin as replacements.
The call-up for Winchester, who played for Northern Ireland at all underage levels, comes more than a decade after he earned his one senior cap to date – as a substitute against Wales in May 2011.
Baraclough’s boys are set to face the Swiss in European Qualifying Group C at Stade de Geneve on Saturday (9 October) and the Bulgarians in the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski next Tuesday (12 October).
Shayne Lavery - injured playing for Blackpool at weekend
There was a big win for Coleraine in the Danske Bank Premiership on Monday night:
.@ColeraineFC's night - looking good in front of the @SkySports cameras, up to 3rd with goals from @skinnerlad & @joshcarson121— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) October 4, 2021
Bannsiders go again Friday v @Glenavon_FC in a reduced programme on international weekend & could move to within a point of top spot!#DanskeBankPrem pic.twitter.com/kzZpwwZdeC
Linfield host Ards in a rearranged County Antrim Shield first round tie on Tuesday night.
It will be David Healy's 300th game in charge since he was appointed Blues boss six years ago this month.
The winners will take on Dundela in the last eight.