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Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Striker Ward in N Ireland call-up

Jamie Ward of Sheffield United
Jamie Ward has won a senior Northern Ireland call-up

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has handed Sheffield United striker Jamie Ward his first senior international call-up.

Ward, who recently joined the Blades from Chesterfield, is in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Slovenia at Windsor Park.

But once again there is no place for winger Keith Gillespie, who has just signed for Bradford City.

Northern Ireland face Poland on 28 March and Slovenia three days later.

Ward was born in Birmingham but qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandfather.

The 22-year-old recently came on as a substitute to score a late winner against Southampton in a Championship fixture but has yet to start a competitive game for Sheffield United.

"With Kyle Lafferty suspended for the first game, it gives me the chance to bring Jamie in and give him some experience of being around the squad," said manager Worthington.

"I was delighted to see Keith get a club but it has just come a little too late on this occasion.

"He has not played a competitive game since 20 December but the door is still very much open."

As well as Lafferty, defender George McCartney and midfielder Steve Davis are suspended for the Poland game but they can play against Slovenia on 1 April.


Northern Ireland squad (v Poland)

Goalkeepers: Taylor (Birmingham City), Mannus (Linfield), Tuffey (Partick Thistle).

Defenders: Craigan (Motherwell), Hughes (Fulham), McAuley (Ipswich Town), McGivern (Manchester City), Baird (Fulham), Evans (Manchester United).

Midfielders: McCann (Scunthorpe United), Brunt (West Brom), McGinn (Celtic), Clingan (Norwich City), Johnson (Birmingham City), McCourt (Celtic), Shiels (Doncaster Rovers).

Strikers: Healy (Sunderland), Feeney (Dundee United on loan), Paterson (Burnley), Ward (Sheffield United).

Added for game v Slovenia: McCartney (Sunderland), Lafferty (Rangers), Davis (Rangers)



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see also
Winger Gillespie joins Bradford
11 Mar 09 |  Bradford
Worthington bemoans 'blip' in win
11 Feb 09 |  Internationals
San Marino 0-3 Northern Ireland
11 Feb 09 |  Internationals
Gillespie omitted from NI squad
02 Feb 09 |  Internationals


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