Evans out of Euro qualifiers
Northern Ireland were dealt another injury blow on Wednesday as Manchester United defender Jonny Evans became the fourth player to withdraw from manager Nigel Worthington's squad.
Retiring captain Aaron Hughes (groin) was first to pull out of what would have been a farewell appearance at Windsor Park in Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Estonia, as well as the clash in Italy four days later.
He was quickly followed by strikers Josh McQuoid (virus) and Jamie Ward (hamstring), and Worthington has confirmed Evans is also out of the matches with an ankle problem.
Evans played 90 minutes for United against Norwich at the weekend but the Barclays Premier League club have raised concerns over his ankle and Northern Ireland have not summoned him to Belfast as a result.
"Jonny is not here and he won't be here," Worthington told BBC Sport. "He has an ongoing ankle problem. He did play at the weekend but the feeling at his club is that he does need rest and recuperation. We accept that and move on."
Evans has played most of his international football at left-back, despite making his name in the middle at club level, but is expected to move inside now that Hughes has called time on his Northern Ireland career.
The games against Estonia, who left Northern Ireland with only the slimmest mathematical hopes of qualifying for the play-offs with a 4-1 win in Tallinn last month, and Italy would have given him the chance to begin his partnership with Gareth McAuley, but that will now have to wait.
Blackpool's Craig Cathcart is now likely be shifted from right-back to centre-half, while uncapped Preston defender Conor McLaughlin has been added to the original squad to provide another option.
Port Vale's Andrew Little, on loan from Rangers, and Scunthorpe's Manchester United loanee Oliver Norwood were also summoned on Tuesday to offer cover further up the pitch.