MCILROY SWEATS OVER DUO'S FITNESS
By Peter O`Rourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
McIlroy has included both men in his squad for the game in Malta on October 6, despite both players currently being injured.
Hughes injured his hamstring playing in a Worthington Cup tie for Newcastle two weeks ago, while Blackburn winger Gillespie has not played since he injured his knee against Ipswich 11 days ago and both are major doubts for the game.
"I've left words with them on their phones and I'm now waiting for them to get back to me," said McIlroy."That hasn't happened yet and I'm hoping that's good news.
"They've got another 10 days with their injuries and I'm hoping that will see them right."
Key men Steve Lomas, Gerry Taggart, Jon McCarthy, Mark Williams, Ian Nolan and Jeff Whitley are all still missing through injury, but McIlroy does to welcome back Celtic midfielder Neil Lennon.
The former Leicester City ace was forced to pull out of last month's two qualifiers against Denmark and Iceland with a groin injury, but he has fully recovered and has been turning out for Celtic.
Linfield striker Glenn Ferguson's international career is over after McIlroy told the player he wants to give his younger forwards a chance at senior level.
Full squad: Carroll (Manchester United), Taylor (Fulham), A Hughes (Newcastle), Murdock (Preston), Griffin (Dundee United), Kennedy (Wigan), McCartney (Sunderland), Horlock (Manchester City), Johnson (Blackburn), Gillespie (Blackburn), M Hughes (Wimbledon), Mulryne (Norwich), Magilton (Ipswich), Lennon (Celtic), Healy (Preston), Elliott (Motherwell), McVeigh (Norwich), Kirk (Hearts), Quinn (West Brom).