Withdrawals hamper Worthington

Brunt, McAuley, Feeney and Johnson to miss Albania friendly

Worthington: Remains upbeat

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington will be without four senior players for Wednesday's date with Albania.

Worthington's side travel to Tirana for a friendly contest in midweek, but will do so without the services of a number of key men.

West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt (calf) and Ipswich defender Gareth McAuley (groin) have both been ruled out through injury.

Cardiff striker Warren Feeney is staying behind to deal with a domestic matter, while Plymouth have requested that experienced midfielder Damien Johnson be rested.

While the problems pile up for Worthington, he can take heart from the fact that Celtic winger Niall McGinn has made the travelling party after recovering from a thigh problem.


"This is virtually par for the course when a friendly takes place during a busy period for club football," said Worthington.

"However it is a wonderful opportunity for those players on the periphery of the squad to gain international experience.

"It is essential we took this game to get the squad together as the last match was four months ago in November.

"On paper this may look like an easy match for us considering we are 40th in the world and they are 97th.

"But having watched them on DVD I think they are a strong side who will give us a tough game."