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European qualifiers: Jonny Evans and Paddy McCourt in Northern Ireland squad to face Faroes and Greece

Jonny Evans Manchester United Prem Lge
Image: Jonny Evans: Back from suspension for double header

Jonny Evans is back in the Northern Ireland squad for next month's European qualifiers against Faroe Islands and Greece.

The Manchester United centre-half - suspended as Michael O'Neill's side began their campaign with victory in Hungary - is included despite an ongoing ankle problem.

O'Neill said: "I have an ongoing dialogue with Manchester United and I've been keeping in touch with Jonny too. We're hopeful he'll be fit." 

Evans returns along with Paddy McCourt, who is back playing regular football after signing for Championship side Brighton, and Port Vale defender Ryan McGivern.

But O'Neill has lost right-hand man Billy McKinlay, who stands down after taking the manager's job at Watford, leaving U17 boss Stephen Robinson and IFA technical director Jim Magilton to assist the manager.

McKinley said: "I recognise I’ve got to concentrate my efforts solely on this club role so it is with regret that I’ll be stepping down.
"I am very grateful to both the Irish FA and to Michael O’Neill, who I’ve known since the early part of my playing career, for the opportunity to serve Northern Ireland. But there is no question in my mind that my attention must be fully on bringing success to Watford."
O'Neill said:  "I would never have stood in the way of his progression and being away for 10 days with us would not be best for him now.

"But we have contingency with the staff we have, so Jim and Stephen will work with us this time and travel to Greece. They'll both add a little bit to the group. Stephen is a very good coach and Jim, as a former Northern Ireland captain, has great experience."

Northern Ireland host Faroe Islands at Windsor Park on October 11 before travelling to Piraeus to take on World Cup finalists Greece three days later.

Squad: Carroll, Mannus, McGovern, Hughes, Baird, McAuley, J Evans, McGivern, Cathcart, R McLaughlin, C McLaughlin, McCullough, Davis, Brunt, Clingan, C Evans, Norwood, Ferguson, Paton, Reeves, McCourt, Lafferty, McGinn, Ward, McKay, Magennis, Grigg.

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