Jonny Evans fit for Northern Ireland qualifier with Luxembourg


Windsor Park, Belfast
Tuesday, 11 September
19:45 BST
Live on BBC Radio Ulster, text commentary on BBC Sport website & highlights on BBC1 Northern Ireland at 23:10 BST

Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans is fit to face Luxembourg in the World Cup qualifier after recovering from an ankle knock.

Evans had ankle surgery in the summer and was in some pain during the 2-0 defeat in Russia on Friday.

However, the Manchester United player declared himself fit following a squad training session on Sunday.

Newcastle midfielder Shane Ferguson is back in the squad after recovering from an ankle injury.

Having lost the opening World Cup qualifying match, the pressure is on Northern Ireland to take maximum points at home to the lowest seeded nation in Group F.

O'Neill said there had been no contact with Manchester United over Evans, adding: "We have no major concerns over Jonny but we just have to manage him between now and Tuesday.

"If there was any risk, we wouldn't take that risk and neither would Jonny."

Evans has yet to feature for United this season but was thrust straight into O'Neill's starting XI for the match in Moscow.

The 25-year-old limped off at half-time but, despite admitting he had been in discomfort from almost the start of the game, he went on to play the full 90 minutes.

"I have only played one reserve game this season after having the surgery in the summer so, to be honest, it was just good to get back on the pitch," said Evans.

"But I felt my ankle after about five minutes. It was the same one I had surgery on in the summer but I got a heavier strap put on it and I was able to carry on for the second half.

"I was disappointed I felt pain so quickly in the game but if I am being honest, I always expected I would feel a little pain - just not that early.

"After a couple of painkillers it did feel a bit better and if anything I felt stronger as the game went on, but like I say, I had a heavier strapping on then."

Ferguson, who can play at left-back or in midfield, also took part in training on Sunday morning.

Goalkeeper Lee Camp has returned home for personal reasons and Trevor Carson has been called up as cover.

Although Luxembourg were the lowest seeds when the Group F draw was made, they are now ranked 23 places higher than Northern Ireland at 106th in the FIFA standings.

If Northern Ireland are to have any hope of getting into contention for the 2014 final, they must surely take all three points in Belfast.

Top Stories