Hughes to miss NI send-off
Aaron Hughes' international career appears to be over after he was ruled out of Northern Ireland's final two Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Last Updated: 03/10/11 7:42pm
Aaron Hughes' international career appears to be over after he was ruled out of Northern Ireland's final two Euro 2012 qualifiers against Estonia and Italy.
The Fulham defender recently announced his decision to stop playing for his country when the current European campaign concludes.
He had hoped to make his final appearance at Windsor Park against Estonia on Friday before making his last appearance against Italy four days later, but will now miss out due to an untimely groin injury.
Unless Hughes has a change of heart about retiring from international football, he will finish on 79 caps, having made his debut in 1998.
The 31-year-old believes the decision not to play for Northern Ireland should extend his club career at Craven Cottage.
On a difficult day for boss Nigel Worthington, Hughes was joined by striker Josh McQuoid (virus) and midfielder Jamie Ward (hamstring) in pulling out of both games.
Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is doubtful for the fixtures with an ankle problem while Preston defender Conor McLaughlin has been called up as cover.
Northern Ireland are fifth in Group C going into their final two games, trailing Serbia, Estonia and Slovenia in the race for second behind runaway leaders Italy.