Craig Cathcart & Liam Boyce out of Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifiers

Craig Cathcart
Watford defender Craig Cathcart has earned 32 Northern Ireland caps

Craig Cathcart has joined Liam Boyce in being ruled out of Northern Ireland's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Germany.

Striker Boyce's absence was expected after he sustained a knee injury in Ross County's defeat by St Johnstone.

Watford defender Cathcart has been forced out by a groin injury and that has led manager Michael O'Neill to call up veteran Aaron Hughes.

Hughes, 36, played three times at Euro 2016 to bring his caps haul up to 103.

The former Newcastle and Aston Villa defender signed for Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters after Euro 2016 but his new club's season has yet to start.

Northern Ireland are at home to San Marino on Saturday before Tuesday's game against Group C favourites Germany in Hanover.

Cathcart also missed Northern Ireland's opening qualifier last month when they earned a 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic.

O'Neill abandoned his three centre-back system without Cathcart in Prague and a flat-back four featuring League One full-backs Shane Ferguson and Conor McLaughlin kept a clean sheet.

With Wigan striker Will Grigg missing both games for family reasons, Boyce's withdrawal means Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Josh Magennis are now the only three strikers in the squad.

Northern Ireland's updated squad:

Goalkeepers: Michael McGovern (Norwich), Alan Mannus (St Johnstone), Trevor Carson (Hartlepool)

Defenders: Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans (both West Brom), Aaron Hughes (Kerala Blasters), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood), Lee Hodson (Rangers), Michael Smith (Peterborough), Tom Flanagan (Burton), Ryan McGivern (Shrewsbury Town)

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Southampton), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Oliver Norwood (Brighton), Corry Evans (Blackburn), Jamie Ward (Nottingham Forest), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Stuart Dallas (Leeds), Paddy McNair (Sunderland), Matthew Lund (Rochdale)

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty (Norwich), Josh Magennis (Charlton), Conor Washington (QPR)

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 4th September 2016

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belarus00000000
2Bulgaria00000000
3France00000000
4Luxembourg00000000
5Netherlands00000000
6Sweden00000000

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Andorra00000000
2Faroe Islands00000000
3Hungary00000000
4Latvia00000000
5Portugal00000000
6Switzerland00000000

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany11003033
2Azerbaijan11001013
3Czech Rep10100001
4Northern Ireland10100001
5San Marino100101-10
6Norway100103-30

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Austria00000000
2Georgia00000000
3Moldova00000000
4R. of Ireland00000000
5Serbia00000000
6Wales00000000

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Denmark11001013
2Kazakhstan10102201
3Poland10102201
4Montenegro10101101
5Romania10101101
6Armenia100101-10

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Scotland11005143
2England11001013
3Lithuania10102201
4Slovenia10102201
5Slovakia100101-10
6Malta100115-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Albania00000000
2Israel00000000
3Italy00000000
4Liechtenstein00000000
5Macedonia00000000
6Spain00000000

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium00000000
2Bos-Herze00000000
3Cyprus00000000
4Estonia00000000
5Gibraltar00000000
6Greece00000000

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia00000000
2Finland00000000
3Iceland00000000
4Kosovo00000000
5Turkey00000000
6Ukraine00000000
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

Top Stories