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Gareth McAuley to miss Northern Ireland games in September with thigh injury

Gareth McAuley's club West Brom have revealed the defender will miss Northern Ireland's World Cup qualification double-header in September.

The 37-year-old has not featured in pre-season with a thigh injury he was struggling with at the end of last term, one which forced him off just 25 minutes into his country's win over Azerbaijan in Baku two months ago.

It was hoped he would be fit enough to make the start of the Premier League season but Baggies boss Tony Pulis has confirmed that he remains out.

And a report on Albion's website also claims the player "will not be available" for Northern Ireland's fixtures with San Marino and Czech Republic at the start of September.

"Gareth won't be fit for a couple of weeks," Pulis said at his press conference on Friday. "He's still struggling with his thigh so that's a problem for us."

Up until his withdrawal in Baku, McAuley had played every minute of his nation's World Cup qualification campaign.

Michael O'Neill's team can secure second place in their group, and a likely play-off berth, if results go their way during September's international break.

However, McAuley is unlikely to be the only significant absentee when O'Neill names his squad later this month.

Burton's Liam Boyce recently ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, while Jamie Ward (calf) and Paddy McNair (knee) are unlikely to return in time.

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