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Michael Smith and Leeds goalkeeper called up to Northern Ireland squad as Craig Cathcart out of qualifiers



Michael Smith.

Michael Smith.

Pic: PressEye

Michael Smith.

Hearts defender Michael Smith has been called up to the Northern Ireland squad after Watford's Craig Cathcart pulled out of the panel.

Cathcart suffered a knee injury during Watford's draw with Brighton on Saturday. Smith, a former Ballymena United full-back, has one international cap and is joined in the panel by Leeds United goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Michael O'Neill's panel travel to take on San Marino on Friday before returning to Belfast, where they will host Czech Republic on Monday evening.

The Northern Ireland boss had originally called up Norwich City keeper Michael McGoven, St Johnstone's Alan Mannus and Linfield's Roy Carroll has his goalkeeping options but now has added Peacock-Farrell to the panel.

So just who is the goalkeeper?

Who is Bailey Peacock-Farrell?

First of all, he's not a total stranger to the Northern Ireland senior set-up. He was also called up for the June friendly against New Zealand and the following World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.

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He's 20 years old and was born in the north-east of England but qualifies to represent Northern Ireland through his family history.

Peacock-Farrell was released by Middlesbrough in 2013 after coming up through their youth academy. Leeds gave him a second bite at the professional cherry and he earned his first senior contract back in 2015.

He became part of Leeds' first-team squad during the following season, taking up the role as Reserve keeper after Ross Turnbull was injured and Charlie Horton released. He made his senior debut in April of last year after Marco Silvestri was sent off during the 1-1 draw with QPR. That remains his only senior appearance for the Championship club, although he has been an unused substitute on 35 occasions.

On July this year, Leeds moved to tie down the highly-rated young stopper with a new three-year contract, running to the end of the 19/20 season.

Peacock-Bailey had a trial with Oldham during the summer with a view to a loan-move, however the League One side opted not to take up that option.

Leeds are willing to let the young star leave on load for the season as they have senior options Andy Lonergan,

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