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Warren Feeney and Gareth McAuley add to NI injury woe

Warren Feeney
Warren Feeney will miss the friendly in Belfast next week

Warren Feeney and Gareth McAuley are the latest Northern Ireland players to pull out of next Wednesday's friendly against Morocco.

Oldham striker Feeney has a back injury while Ipswich defender McAuley is ruled out by an Achilles injury.

That brings to seven the number of Northern Ireland players to withdraw from the Windsor Park game.

Maik Taylor, Chris Baird, Corry Evans, Sammy Clingan and Grant McCann all pulled out of the squad on Wednesday.

Feeney sustained a back injury on Tuesday during training with his club Oldham Athletic and McAuley was forced off in the second half of his club's game against Derby on Tuesday night.

The withdrawals reduce the squad's number to a paltry 13 and manager Nigel Worthington is certain to have to draft in additional players.

Taylor is out with a shoulder injury, Baird has a torn thigh muscle and Evans has an ongoing hamstring complaint.

Clingan sustained a knee ligament injury on Tuesday night and he will be ruled out for four to six weeks.

McCann's club, Peterborough United, are involved in an FA Cup replay next week so he will be absent.

Record goalscorer David Healy was left out of the squad but he could be drafted in to the fill void left by Feeney.

The Sunderland striker commenced a one-month loan deal to Doncaster Rovers last week and scored on his debut in a 2-1 win over Millwall on Saturday.

What David has achieved over many years for Northern Ireland is fantastic and the door is still wide open for him.
NI manager Nigel Worthington

The 31-year-old has been involved in every Northern Ireland squad, when available, since his debut in 2000.

He has won 84 caps and scored 35 goals, but has no goals in the last two years.

Healy has made fewer than two dozen appearances in a two-year spell at Sunderland, having previously struggled to repeat his international form at club level.

"I spoke to David last week to explain my thinking and obviously he was disappointed," said Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington.

"What David has achieved over many years for Northern Ireland is fantastic and the door is still wide open for him.

"It is a case of him hopefully getting some first-team football and scoring some goals in the next few months.

"I want him to focus and concentrate on that and hopefully he will get back to where he was.

"A friendly match gives us the opportunity to look at some players who have been on the fringes and give them some game time."

Burnley striker Martin Paterson is also an absentee, despite scoring twice against Norwich City on Saturday.

Celtic winger Pat McCourt is again included, having been recalled for the recent Euro 2012 qualifiers against Italy and the Faroe Islands.

Sunderland defender George McCartney, currently on loan at Leeds United, returns to the panel.

N Ireland squad: Tuffey (Inverness), Blayney (Linfield), Evans (Manchester Utd), Craigan (Motherwell), McCartney (Sunderland), Hughes (Fulham), Brunt (West Bromwich Albion), Gorman (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Davis (Rangers), McGinn (Celtic), McCourt (Celtic), Lafferty (Rangers), Patterson (Plymouth Argyle).

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see also
Healy left out of N Ireland squad
08 Nov 10 |  Football
Doncaster 2-1 Millwall
06 Nov 10 |  Championship
Healy signs for Doncaster on loan
04 Nov 10 |  Doncaster
Healy would welcome Rangers move
20 Jun 10 |  Football
Healy agrees loan move to Ipswich
01 Feb 10 |  Ipswich
Healy wants move from Black Cats
20 Jan 10 |  Sunderland
Agent rejects Healy move report
07 Jan 09 |  Sunderland

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