N.Ireland lose key duo

Hughes & Lafferty join Davis on the sidelines

Hughes: Shoulder problem

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Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes and striker Kyle Lafferty have been ruled out of this week's Euro 2012 qualifier with Slovenia.

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Hughes suffered a shoulder injury in Friday's 2-1 defeat to Serbia, while Rangers forward Lafferty injured his knee in the same game.

The duo join Rangers midfielder Steven Davis on the sidelines after he failed to recover from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss the Serbia defeat.

With David Healy suspended and Lafferty ruled out, Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has drafted in Millwall striker Josh McQuoid.

Worthington admitted the loss of Hughes, who has not missed a competitive game since September 2007, was a major blow to the side.

"Aaron didn't travel to Belfast with us on Saturday, instead he got a flight to London for a scan on his shoulder and it revealed some damage," Worthington told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Fulham are going to let it settle for a few days before seeing if the problem needs some further work, but his absence is, of course, a big blow for us."

Hughes admits he knew something was up with his shoulder, amid fears he could face several weeks on the sidelines.

"I felt something pop back in, so I assume that it had to come out to go back in," noted Hughes.

Lafferty revealed he had been struggling with the knee injury before the Serbia game and that his gamble on his fitness backfired on him.

"I had been training with it and I don't think I should have been playing, but I gave it a go and it backfired," said Lafferty.

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