Northern Ireland: Jonny Evans in squad for Euro 2020 play-off and Nations League games

Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans missed both of Northern Ireland's games in September

Jonny Evans is in Northern Ireland's squad for the European Championship play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina and two Nations League matches.

The defender was an injury concern after hobbling off late in Leicester City's win over Manchester City on Sunday with a calf problem.

NI face Bosnia in Sarajevo on 8 October, host Austria on 11 October and are away to Norway on 14 October.

Tom Flanagan returns to the squad and Alistair McCann gets a first call-up.

St Johnstone midfielder McCann is included in a 26-man squad named by manager Ian Baraclough for the triple-header, moving up from the Under-21 set-up.

Baraclough pleased to have 'big game player' Evans back in NI squad

Centre-back missed Northern Ireland's Nations League games in September, sitting out the draw with Romania due to personal reasons before a thigh strain ruled him out of the defeat by Norway.

The 32-year-old was also suspended for Leicester's first three games of the season.

"Jonny is a player any country would miss, especially us. He has been a cornerstone of our back four for a good few years and is a big game player," said Baraclough.

"He is one you certainly want in your side going into these big games against the likes of Edin Dzeko.

"Ali [McCann] has been impressing us for a while - he has been consistent in his performances and has a good temperament. I have no reservations about bringing him into the senior squad."

Steven Davis
Steven Davis is set to win a record 120th cap for Northern Ireland

Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard retains his place in the squad after starting against Romania and Norway in the absence of Evans and Flanagan, who was missing for personal reasons.

Aberdeen winger Matthew Kennedy is not included because of injury.

Captain Steven Davis is set to make his 120th appearance and overtake former goalkeeper Pat Jennings as Northern Ireland's most-capped international in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Bosnia.

The winners of that rescheduled tie will play the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia in the play-off-final on 12 November, with Baraclough's side enjoying home advantage should they progress.

'Monumental effort' required

Northern Ireland are hoping to achieve a first victory over Bosnia, having lost to them twice in their previous Nations League campaign.

"We know the task that's ahead of us. It's going to take a monumental effort but we go there in positive spirits and we think we can get a result," said Baraclough.

"There is talk of Bosnia having a small crowd there but we welcome that. It probably puts more pressure on the Bosnians.

"A good few of our players have got four or five games under their belts since we got together a month ago and that's pleasing to see."

Baraclough's side began this Nations League series with a 1-1 draw in Romania, but were then beaten 5-1 at home by Norway.

Northern Ireland squad: Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Burnley), Michael McGovern (Norwich City), Trevor Carson (Motherwell).

Defenders: Jonathan Evans (Leicester City), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Conor McLaughlin (Sunderland), Jamal Lewis (Newcastle United), Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian), Tom Flanagan (Sunderland), Daniel Ballard (Arsenal).

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Rangers), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough), George Saville (Middlesbrough), Gavin Whyte (Cardiff City), Jordan Jones (Rangers), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Joel Cooper (Oxford United), Alistair McCann (St Johnstone).

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty (Reggina), Josh Magennis (Hull City), Conor Washington (Charlton Athletic), Liam Boyce (Heart of Midlothian).

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - Blue

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport

Explore the BBC