Belfast Telegraph

Trio return from injury in Northern Ireland's World Cup play-off squad

Michael O'Neill has announced his play-off panel that will face Switzerland

Jamie Ward, Aaron Hughes and Paddy McNair have all been included in Northern Ireland's 27-man squad to face Switzerland in the World Cup play-offs.

Forward Ward has missed half the World Cup qualification campaign with a calf problem, but has returned to make two appearances off the bench for Nottingham Forest and is now in Michael O'Neill's panel for the crunch clashes. The squad has 937 caps and 64 goals between them.

Hughes joined up with the squad for the qualifiers with Germany and Norway only to pull out with a calf issue that has prevented him from featuring for Hearts but he could be back to face Kilmarnock next weekend.

The decision over whether to recall McNair was potentially a more difficult one as he has only just come back from an 11-month lay-off.

The 22-year-old midfielder suffered a knee injury last November and made his senior return for Sunderland off the bench on Saturday with 11 minutes to go. Northern Ireland host Switzerland at Windsor Park on November 9 before the return leg in Basel three days later.

Scunthorpe United defender Rory McArdle is also back in the panel. The 30 year-old hasn't featured on an NI team-sheet since October 2015, when he was an unused substitute during the 3-1 Euro 2016 qualifying victory at home to Greece.

Bradford duo Adam Thompson and Shay McCartan drop out from the previous squad, named to face Norway and Germany.

Skipper Steven Davis was in goalscoring form on Sunday, netting the opener in Southampton's 1-1 draw at Brighton.

Northern Ireland squad to face Switzerland

Goalkeepers: Michael McGovern, Roy Carroll, Alan Mannus

Defenders: Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley, Aaron Hughes, Chris Brunt, Conor McLaughlin, Lee Hodson, Rory McArdle, Daniel Lafferty, Paddy McNair, Tom Flanagan

Midfielders: Steven Davis, Niall McGinn, Oliver Norwood, Corry Evans, Shane Ferguson, Stuart Dallas, Paul Paton, George Saville, Matthew Lund, Jordan Jones

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty, Josh Magennis, Conor Washington, Jamie Ward

Belfast Telegraph

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