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European Qualifiers Group F

Northern Ireland lose trio

Gareth McAuley, Chris Brunt and Michael O'Connor have pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad for Friday's friendly against Turkey.

Last Updated: 12/11/13 at 10:07 Post Comment

Gareth McAuley: Out of Northern Ireland friendly in Adana

Gareth McAuley: Out of Northern Ireland friendly in Adana

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West Brom duo McAuley and Brunt have been key figures for manager Michael O'Neill but will not feature in Adana.

Both men played the full 90 minutes of Albion's dramatic 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Saturday, but Brunt has withdrawn with groin and knee problems and McAulely misses out for unspecified personal reasons.

The further absence of nine-cap Rotherham midfielder O'Connor, who has a thigh injury, leaves O'Neill with just 18 players at his disposal.

No replacements have been announced at this stage, but such a paucity of numbers makes it probable that the likes of Barnsley winger Paddy McCourt could be called up to cover for Brunt, with Hull City defender Alex Bruce a possible replacement for McAuley.

O'Neill would be loath to draw on the country's U21 squad for reinforcements given that they have a European Championship qualifier in Italy on Thursday night.

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