Injured Conor Washington pulls out of Northern Ireland squad

Ian Parker, PA
·1-min read

Charlton striker Conor Washington has been ruled out of Northern Ireland’s opening World Cup qualifiers through injury.

The 28-year-old was withdrawn just a few minutes into the Addicks’ League One draw with AFC Wimbledon on Saturday with what manager Nigel Adkins indicated was a hamstring and back problem.

Ian Baraclough has called up Linfield striker Shayne Lavery to replace Washington in the squad for the qualifiers away to Italy and at home to Bulgaria, with a friendly at home to the United States coming in between.

Lavery, who has five caps for Northern Ireland, has scored 19 goals for Linfield in the Irish League this season, and was on the scoresheet against Crusaders at the weekend.

Baraclough has also added Liverpool goalkeeper Liam Hughes to the group, expanding it to a 27-man squad.

It is a first senior call-up for Hughes, who joined Liverpool from Celtic in January. Derry City’s uncapped stopper Nathan Gartside is also in the group.

Northern Ireland travel to Parma to face Italy on Thursday before facing the United States at Windsor Park on Sunday before Bulgaria visit on March 31.