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Duo forced out of NI squad

Northern Ireland defenders Aaron Hughes and Ryan McGivern have been ruled out of the World Cup qualifiers against Portugal and Luxembourg.

Last Updated: 05/09/13 at 11:35 Post Comment

Ryan McGivern: Norther Ireland defender has a knee injury

Ryan McGivern: Norther Ireland defender has a knee injury

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Manager Michael O'Neill revealed on Wednesday that the duo were struggling with respective groin and knee problems.

Both players were expected to start against Portugal at Windsor Park on Friday night - with Hughes at right-back and McGivern deputising for the suspended Daniel Lafferty at left-back.

Craig Cathcart is already absent due to a knee injury and O'Neill has summoned Chris Baird and Rory McArdle as cover.

Baird is a vastly experienced player at international level and can play in a number of positions, but had not initially been considered for the double header as he is currently without a club.

The former Fulham man has been training with west London rivals Queens Park Rangers since pre-season but has yet to agree terms and has not played competitively this term.

Meanwhile, Bradford centre-back McArdle offers additional cover for Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley.

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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

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Neville: Reds need a rest

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ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

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