Belfast Telegraph

Paddy McCourt and Kyle Lafferty doubtful for Serbia clash

By Stuart McKinley

Old Firm duo Paddy McCourt and Kyle Lafferty are both rated doubtful starters for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Serbia tomorrow night.

Or is manager Nigel Worthington playing mind games with the Serbs?

The duo didn’t train with the rest of the squad yesterday as Worthington revealed that both players are nursing calf injuries.

If, however, it’s all a clever ploy to fool the Serbs before a hugely important game in terms of qualifying for the European Championship finals, then the football brilliance of McCourt and Lafferty is matched by their acting skills.

As our picture shows, Celtic winger McCourt and Rangers striker Lafferty looked genuinely glum as they circled the training pitch while their team-mates prepared for tomorrow evening’s game, possibly pondering the prospect of watching from the stand — or doing their best to send a message to Serbia.

Northern Ireland chances of gaining an important victory in the battle to reach next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine will be boosted by the presence of both players on the pitch, particularly after McCourt’s stunning two-goal display against the Faroe Islands last month.

The feeling in the camp is that both men will be fit and, any mind games apart, Worthington is hoping that is the case.

Belfast Telegraph


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