Cathcart back in NI fold

Image: Cathcart: NI recall

Craig Cathcart has earned a recall to the Northern Ireland squad for their opening Euro 2012 qualifier.

Seasiders stopper named in squad for Slovenia friendly

Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart has earned a recall to the Northern Ireland squad for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia. Northern Ireland kick off their qualifying campaign in Maribor next Friday and 21-year-old Cathcart could be in line for his first cap. The stopper, who arrived at Bloomfield Road from Manchester United this summer, was overlooked for May's friendlies with Turkey and Chile and the friendly in Montenegro earlier this month. Fulham defender Aaron Hughes returns from injury, while 17-year-old Wolves winger Johnny Gorman retains his place in the squad and could make his debut competitive outing for his country, despite having not yet played for his club's first team.


Cathcart is the only uncapped player to be named by manager Nigel Worthington in the 20-man party. Manchester United siblings Jonny and Corry Evans are both included in the squad, the latter impressing in recent friendlies despite also not having played a competitive first-team game for his club. Omitted from the party is the Evans brothers' Old Trafford club-mate Oliver Norwood, while Celtic midfielder Paddy McCourt also misses out. Northern Ireland will be looking to improve on their last visit to Maribor two years ago, when they suffered a 2-0 defeat in a World Cup qualifier. Northern Ireland squad for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia on 3rd September: Maik Taylor (Birmingham), Jonathan Tuffey (Inverness), Alan Blayney (Linfield); Jonny Evans (Man Utd), Stephen Craigan (Motherwell), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool), Gareth McAuley (Ipswich), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Chris Baird (Fulham); Grant McCann (Peterborough), Chris Brunt (West Brom), Jonny Gorman (Wolves), Corry Evans (Man Utd), Steven Davis (Rangers), Sammy Clingan (Coventry); David Healy (Sunderland), Warren Feeney (Oldham), Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Martin Paterson (Burnley), Rory Patterson (Plymouth)

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