Belfast Telegraph

Evans' injury news set to give Northern Ireland a major play-off boost

 

By Robert Jones

Anxious Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill should receive a World Cup boost this morning with the news that influential defender Jonny Evans will be fit for the World Cup play-off match against Switzerland on November 9.

Evans sparked major concern in the Northern Ireland camp when he was forced off with a groin problem during the first half of West Brom's 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday.

The 29 year-old, who was linked with a big money move to Manchester City earlier this season, was set for a scan on Sunday but that was delayed 24 hours and the Baggies will publicly release the results today.

However, sources close to the west Midlands club suggest the former Manchester United centre half is not a major injury worry with Northern Ireland's first leg against Switzerland just 16 days away.

Evans admitted: "I felt my groin after a challenge with Shane Long and I couldn't shake it off so I had to go off. I'll assess it and see where the injury is at."

Evans, who was considered Northern Ireland's best player at the Euro 2016 finals, played in all 10 of the World Cup qualifiers and is considered crucial to O'Neill if the men in green are to overcome favourites Switzerland and reach their first World Cup finals since 1986.

The Newtownabbey man has struggled with injury already this season - missing the first six weeks due to a hamstring issue - but he returned in time to help Northern Ireland defeat San Marino on September 1 and then scored in a memorable 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic at Windsor Park three days later.

Belfast Telegraph

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