Jonny Evans is a major doubt for Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Switzerland with a plantar fasciitis injury.
The Leicester defender was named in the 25-man squad but is struggling with the injury, which causes pain on the bottom of the foot around the heel and arch.
Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough wants to give the 33-year-old every chance of getting minutes under his belt in the friendly against Estonia on September 5, however, he faces a race against time in order to prove his fitness.
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Discussing the latest on Evans’ recovery from injury, Baraclough said: “He’s taken advice from professionals. It’s the type of injury that can go as quickly as it came but it’s been worrying.”
Evans has not featured for Leicester since the back end of the 2020-21 Premier League season, with his club side hopeful he may come back into consideration for selection after the international break.
Lafferty left out of NI squad
🙌 Your Northern Ireland squad for our September fixtures! 💚#GAWA
Kyle Lafferty is a high-profile absentee from the squad for September’s qualifiers, but there is a recall for Charlton striker Conor Washington for the first time since November 2020.
Lafferty, who is currently with Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta, did not make the cut while fellow forward Liam Boyce has opted not to feature for family reasons.
Paddy McNair will reach 50 senior caps if he plays in the matches against Lithuania, Estonia and Switzerland, while Shane Ferguson is just one match away from his half century of games for Northern Ireland.
Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Sheffield Wednesday), Trevor Carson (Dundee United), Conor Hazard (Celtic).
Defenders: Jonny Evans (Leicester), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Stuart Dallas (Leeds), Shane Ferguson (Rotherham), Michael Smith (Hearts), Jamal Lewis (Newcastle), Daniel Ballard (Millwall), Ciaron Brown (Cardiff).
Midfielders: Steven Davis (Rangers), Corry Evans (Sunderland), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), George Saville (Millwall), Jordan Thompson (Stoke), Ali McCann (St Johnstone), Gavin Whyte (Oxford United), Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), Jordan Jones (Wigan), Conor Bradley (Liverpool).
Forwards: Josh Magennis (Hull), Conor Washington (Charlton), Shayne Lavery (Blackpool), Dion Charles (Accrington Stanley).
MacPhee leaves NI to join Scotland staff
Scotland boss Steve Clarke has added Austin MacPhee to his coaching setup.
The 41-year-old had worked with Northern Ireland for seven years and played a key role in helping the side qualify for Euro 2016.
MacPhee has now switched to join Steve Clarke’s setup after coach Steven Reid left due to an increase in his coaching responsibilities at Nottingham Forest.
He will work alongside Clarke and John Carver ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Denmark, Moldova and Austria, live on Sky Sports.
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