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Striker Kyle Lafferty set for long-awaited return to Northern Ireland squad for Nations League games


Kyle Lafferty. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Kyle Lafferty. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

©INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Kyle Lafferty. Credit: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Big hitters Steven Davis and Jonny Evans will be joined in the Northern Ireland squad for next month’s Nations League games by a familiar face, with Kyle Lafferty set to be named in Ian Baraclough’s panel today.

Lafferty has been left out of recent squads but his sensational form for Kilmarnock this year, inspiring them to win promotion back to the Scottish Premiership, is expected to lead to a recall.

The 34-year-old striker is a legend with the Northern Ireland supporters for his heroic deeds in sending the nation to the Euro 2016 finals, scoring seven goals in qualifying, and the Green and White Army will be pleased to see one of their favourite sons back in the fold.

From making his international debut in 2006, Lafferty has been passionate about playing for his country and has spoken in the past about his desire to reach 100 caps — he is 15 away from that.

The former Rangers star is Northern Ireland’s second-highest male scorer on 20, behind David Healy (36).

He has not scored an international goal since November 2016 but will be keen to put that right in Nations League matches at home to Greece (June 2), away to Cyprus (June 5) and Kosovo (June 9) and versus Cyprus at Windsor Park (June 12) if, as sources suggest, he is included in Baraclough’s plans at a squad announcement this morning.

A double boost for the Northern Ireland boss is that both captain Davis and vice-captain Evans are determined to be included for the four matches in 11 days.

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They have had testing seasons for Rangers and Leicester City respectively, with injuries ruling them out at different stages of the past year but both are keen to be involved.

Northern Ireland have never won a Nations League fixture but Baraclough and his players have faith that they have what it takes to buck that trend this time and finish top of their group.

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