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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 12:13 GMT
Johnson returns for Bulgaria game
Damien Johnson
Damien Johnson is delighted to be back for Northern Ireland
Damien Johnson is back in the Northern Ireland panel after an 11-month absence for the friendly against Bulgaria at Windsor Park on 6 February.

The Birmingham City midfielder has been sidelined by a series of hamstring injuries and his last appearance came in the 2-1 victory over Sweden.

"I have certainly missed it and it is great to be back. It was so frustrating being out and watching games," he said.

In-form Linfield striker Peter Thompson is also called into the 21-man squad.

The friendly will be Nigel Worthington's first game after he signed a two-year deal to continue as Northern Ireland manager.

"I have not played under Nigel yet so I am looking forward to that," added Johnson.

"I have only heard good things about him from the other players."

Thompson, who has scored 12 goals in his last five games, replaces Glentoran forward Gary Hamilton in the panel.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov has been named in the Bulgaria squad for the game in Belfast.

Berbatov is joined in the panel by Aston Villa's Stilian Petrov and Martin Petrov of Manchester City.

Northern Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Maik Taylor (Birmingham City), Alan Mannus (Linfield), Michael McGovern (Celtic).

Defenders: Chris Baird (Fulham), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Stephen Craigan (Motherwell), Gareth McAuley (Leicester City), George McCartney (West Ham United), Jonathan Evans (Manchester United), Sean Webb (Ross County).

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Fulham), Damien Johnson (Birmingham City), Sammy Clingan (Nottingham Forest), Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion), Keith Gillespie (Sheffield United), Ivan Sproule (Bristol City), Stephen Robinson (Luton Town).

Forwards: David Healy (Fulham), Kyle Lafferty (Burnley), Martin Paterson (Scunthorpe United), Peter Thompson (Linfield).



SEE ALSO
Worthington signs two-year deal
18 Jan 08 |  Internationals
NI begin with a trip to Slovakia
16 Jan 08 |  Internationals
NI to play Bulgaria and Georgia
11 Jan 08 |  Internationals
Worthington staying on as NI boss
11 Jan 08 |  Internationals
IFA continues Worthington talks
21 Dec 07 |  Internationals
IFA in no rush to appoint manager
07 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Worthington starts talks with IFA
06 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Worthington happy with NI group
25 Nov 07 |  Internationals
IFA wants Worthington to stay on
19 Nov 07 |  Internationals


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