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Injury-hit Kyle Lafferty will make it back for Euro 2016 finals

By Graham Luney

Published 31/03/2016

Kyle Lafferty will be fit to compete in Euro 2016
Kyle Lafferty will be fit to compete in Euro 2016
Relieved: Liam Boyce's hand injury is not serious

Kyle Lafferty's involvement at Euro 2016 has not been thrown into doubt by a groin injury.

The Kesh man is hoping to return to action before the end of the season for Birmingham City, who he has just joined on loan from Norwich, despite suffering the injury blow in Northern Ireland's 1-0 win over Slovenia at Windsor Park on Monday night.

There were fears Lafferty would be sidelined for six weeks but a Norwich City source has claimed the injury is not that serious.

Lafferty made the loan move to the Blues earlier this month after being starved of action at the Canaries.

The news, however, is not as bad as first feared and the former Rangers and Burnley striker is hoping to be back playing before the end of the season.

Lafferty featured in Northern Ireland's double-header against Wales and Slovenia but he picked up the injury during his half-hour stint on the pitch after being introduced in the second-half on Monday night.

There is also uplifting news on the injury front for Northern Ireland striker Liam Boyce, whose hand injury is not serious.

After seeing a specialist, he has been informed the injury does not require significant treatment and he can play on without using a cast or strapping.

The Ross County striker’s agent, Stephen Whelan, said: "The news is positive. It was an impact injury but not a serious one. Liam went to see a specialist and there is no real harm to worry about. It doesn’t look like any strapping or cast will be needed.

"Hopefully it will heal pretty quickly."

Lafferty's injury was a much bigger concern to Northern Ireland fans and boss Michael O'Neill after reports yesterday suggested he would be out for six weeks.

The 28-year-old has had less than an hour's first-team action for the Canaries this season, having made just three substitute appearances, but a move to the Blues sparked fresh hope he could get his career back on track. O'Neill was relieved to give the former Palermo man some game time, anxious for his dangerman to sharpen his shooting skills ahead of the Euro 2016 finals in France.

Signed by Norwich in the 2014 summer transfer window, he wasn't able to make an impression at Carrow Road despite smashing in seven goals in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

But Birmingham City chief Gary Rowett wants a fit and firing Lafferty to give his side fresh firepower.

The Blues are scheduled to play eight matches in April as they hunt down a play-off spot for a place in the Premier League.

Lafferty had spoken of his excitement at making the loan move, saying: "I had my mind set on wanting to play games before the end of the season to get myself prepared for the Euro finals in France and when the chance came I jumped at it.

"Birmingham are a massive club and having played against them in the past I know how amazing their fans are."

Belfast Telegraph

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