World Cup: Grant McCann forced to pull out of Northern Ireland squad

Grant McCann: Ruled out of World Cup qualifier

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Peterborough star Grant McCann has pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Azerbaijan.

The withdrawal - because his wife is duo to give birth - is a blow for boss Michael O'Neill, who had already lost Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, Rangers star Andre Little, defender Alex Bruce and forward Jamie Ward.

Evans - the defensive rock in Northern Ireland's 1-1 draw in Portugal - missed Manchester United's Premier League game against Aston Villa on Saturday because of a groin injury.

The Irish Football Association confirmed: "Grant McCann has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad to play Azerbaijan on Wednesday due to family reasons. No replacements have been called up."

O'Neill responded to Ward's departure by summoning uncapped Inverness striker Billy McKay and on Sunday added Liverpool teenager Ryan McLaughlin and Burnley full-back Danny Lafferty to the squad.