Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Ward out of Northern Ireland squad

Jamie Ward has been forced out of the Northern Ireland squad

Jamie Ward has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad to face Turkey on Friday due to a foot injury, the Irish Football Association has announced.

The Derby forward played a key role in the Rams' 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday but has suffered a bruised foot and did not fly out with the rest of Michael O'Neill's squad on Tuesday.

Newcastle left-back Shane Ferguson, currently on loan at Birmingham, was another man not on the flight to Turkey due to illness but he may make the trip later in the week depending on his recovery.

Hibernian defenders Ryan McGivern and James McPake have both been drafted into the squad as cover.

Ward's withdrawal from the squad follows those of Gareth McAuley, Chris Brunt and Michael O'Connor on Monday and should Ferguson not recover in time to join up with his team-mates, O'Neill will be left with just 18 players at his disposal on Friday night.

Barnsley winger Paddy McCourt and Hull's Alex Bruce remain options if more reinforcements are needed but the manager would be loathe to draw on his the country's Under-21 squad given that they have a European Championship qualifier in Italy on Thursday night, just a day before the senior game in Adana.

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