Lafferty and McCourt back for N Ireland qualifiers

Northern Ireland have been boosted by the return of Kyle Lafferty and Pat McCourt for their final Euro 2012 qualifiers against Estonia and Italy.

Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty and Celtic winger McCourt pulled out of the panel before the defeats by Serbia and Estonia because of injury.

Manager Nigel Worthington has named an unchanged squad to face Estonia on 7 October and Italy four days later.

His side's hopes of qualifying were effectively ended by the Estonia loss.

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans and his brother Corry are available again after they were both suspended for the 4-1 defeat in Tallinn earlier this month.

Lafferty and McCourt have both recovered from calf strains which kept them out of the last two qualifiers.

Their attacking talents were sorely missed in both games but their return has come too late in relation to qualifying for next year's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Only a highly unlikely sequence of results would see Northern Ireland claim the play-off spot behind leaders Italy.

The two qualifiers will also be the final international games for Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes.

The 31-year-old Fulham defender announced at the weekend that he will retire from international football at the end of the qualifying campaign.

Hughes is set to make his Windsor Park farewell against Estonia before bowing out in the Italy game in Prescara.

Northern Ireland

Goalkeepers: Maik Taylor (unattached), Lee Camp (Nottingham Forest), Alan Mannus (St Johnstone)

Defenders: Jonathan Evans (Manchester United), Ryan McGivern (Manchester City - on loan at Crystal Palace), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool), Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Lee Hodson (Watford)

Midfielders: Chris Baird (Fulham), Grant McCann (Peterborough United), Niall McGinn (Celtic - on loan at Brentford), Jonny Gorman (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Corry Evans (Hull City), Steven Davis (Rangers), Sammy Clingan (Coventry City), Pat McCourt (Celtic), Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion)

Forwards: Warren Feeney (Plymouth Argyle), David Healy (Rangers), Jamie Ward (Derby County), Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Josh McQuoid (Millwall)

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