Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2012: Northern Ireland boost as Vidic injured

Northern Ireland’s Euro Championship hopes were given a double boost today as Nigel Worthington’s squad prepared to head for for Friday’s behind-closed-doors showdown with Serbia in Belgrade.

They will travel boosted by the return to fitness of Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty — and in the knowledge they won’t now have to face Manchester United’s world class Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic.

Lafferty featured in yesterday’s League Cup final victory over Celtic after making a speedy recovery from a knee injury.

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans also links up with the squad today after returning to action at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Evans’ dismissal in a 1-0 win over Bolton now rules him out of the Manchester derby FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month but his return to fitness is another lift boss Worthy.

Vidic will not feature for Serbia due to a calf injury.

“Coach Vladimir Petrovic spoke to Vidic and it's been decided that he should stay with his club Manchester United for further treatment,” a Serbian FA spokesman confirmed.

Birmingham City striker Nikola Zigic is also doubtful as he is recovering from a groin injury.

Northern Ireland will have just 240 fans at the game, by special permission of Uefa who ordered the lockout of home supporters after a Serb hooligan element rioted in Italy last year.

Those fans have been allowed to travel as they had pre-paid their trips and Irish FA officials have been given assurances by Serbian authorities that measures, including an armed police guard, have been put in place to guarantee their safety.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph