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Page last updated at 22:32 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

N Ireland hit by withdrawals ahead of Albania friendly

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley
Gareth McAuley has been ruled out of Northern Ireland's friendly in Albania

Northern Ireland have been hit by four withdrawals ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Albania in Tirana.

Chris Brunt, Warren Feeney, Damien Johnson and Gareth McAuley have all pulled out of the squad.

Brunt has a calf injury while Johnson has been carrying an unspecified injury and was advised to miss the match.

Feeney misses out because his wife is due to give birth while McAuley is suffering from a groin injury sustained while playing for Ipswich Town.

Celtic midfielder Niall McGinn is expected to be fit after recovering form a thigh problem.


The Northern Ireland party depart on Monday morning and will have a training session at the Qemal Stafa Stadium in Tirana later that day.

Manager Worthington is keen to see Northern Ireland repeat their encouraging away displays when they drew in Poland and the Czech Republic during the World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Albania are 91st and we are 40th in the rankings. You look at that and think it is going to be easy," said Worthington.

"But I have watched DVDs of Albania and they have had very good results against great opposition than us, who are higher in the world rankings.

"We are going to go there and hopefully perform as we did in the Czech Republic and Poland and come away with a good result."

The match will be shown live on the BBC red button and on the BBC Sport website. It is also live on Radio Ulster medium wave with highlights on BBC1 Northern Ireland at 2315 GMT on Wednesday.

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see also
Patterson gets N Ireland call-up
22 Feb 10 |  Football
N Ireland get Italy in Euro draw
07 Feb 10 |  Football
NI to take on Albania in friendly
18 Jan 10 |  Irish

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