Belfast Telegraph

Washington out of Euro qualifying bid

 

Sidelined: Conor Washington
Sidelined: Conor Washington

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland's hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 have suffered a blow after a serious injury to striker Conor Washington.

The Hearts frontman has been ruled out for three months with a torn hamstring.

And that means the 27-year-old will miss the rest of Northern Ireland's qualifying campaign, with Michael O'Neill's side facing Netherlands home and away and Germany in Frankfurt during the forward's lay-off.

Washington, who has scored two goals in nine outings since the summer, lasted 19 minutes as a second-half substitute in Saturday's 3-2 home loss to Motherwell before pulling up.

Hearts confirmed: "Scans have since identified a tear, which means he'll be out of action until December."

Aside from Will Grigg, who last played for the country almost one year ago, Washington's injury leaves Josh Magennis, Shayne Lavery and Kyle Lafferty as the only fit forwards.

Liam Boyce didn't feature against Luxembourg or Germany earlier this month due to a hamstring issue and his Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough says he must be 'a little bit cautious' in the coming weeks.

Paul Smyth, currently on loan with Wycombe Wanderers, withdrew from the panel due to a foot injury.

Northern Ireland defender Craig Cathcart is nursing a thigh strain but hopes to return for Watford within the next few weeks.

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