Euro 2020 play-off: Mark Sykes and Jordan Jones make NI squad

Kyle Lafferty
Kyle Lafferty scored his last Northern Ireland goal in November 2017 at home to Azerbaijan

Oxford United midfielder Mark Sykes has been named in Michael O'Neill's squad for Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off away to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Jordan Jones and Conor Washington also return to the squad after long-term injuries.

Kyle Lafferty is included after netting twice in Sunderland's draw with Gillingham on his first start for the club on Saturday.

Northern Ireland are set to face Bosnia on 26 March in Zenica.

O'Neill, who is also Stoke City manager, named his squad at the Bet365 Stadium ahead of what could be his final time in charge of Northern Ireland.

If Northern Ireland beat Bosnia on 26 March then O'Neill is poised to the Windsor Park dugout for the final time in the play-off final.

Either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland, whose game will be played behind closed doors due to fears over the spread of coronavirus, await either Northern Ireland or Bosnia in the decider on 31 March.

Sykes, who has twice been called up but yet to be capped by O'Neill, has been in fine form form for League One outfit Oxford and put in an impressive display in February's FA Cup fourth-round replay at home to Premier League side Newcastle United.

Jordan Jones
Before his injury, Jordan Jones was a regular under O'Neill since making his debut in 2017

Rangers winger Jones missed four of Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 qualifiers, against Germany and the Netherlands, after injuring himself in September's Old Firm derby against Celtic.

After suffering a fractured skull while playing for Blackburn Rovers in January, Corry Evans is left out as his recovery continues, while Linfield striker Shayne Lavery misses out.

Aberdeen's Matty Kennedy joins Sykes as the other uncapped player in the 26-man squad while Washington makes his return to the international set-up after injuring his hamstring while playing for Hearts in September.

Jordan Thompson, who joined O'Neill at Stoke in the January transfer window, is included after being drafted into the international squad for November's qualifiers.

Northern Ireland squad:

Goalkeepers: Peacock-Farrell (Burnley), McGovern (Norwich City), Carson (Motherwell)

Defenders: Evans (Leicester City), Craig Cathcart (Watford), McLaughlin (Sunderland), Lewis (Norwich City), Smith (Hearts), Flanagan (Sunderland), Brown (Livingston)

Midfielders: Davis (Rangers), McGinn (Aberdeen), Dallas (Leeds), Ferguson (Milwall), McNair (Middlesbrough), Saville (Middlesbrough), Jones (Rangers), Whyte (Cardiff City), Thompson (Stoke City), Donnelly (Motherwell), Kennedy (Aberdeen), Sykes (Oxford United)

Forwards: Boyce (Hearts), Lafferty (Sunderland), Washington (Hearts), Magennis (Hull City)

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport