Kyle Lafferty has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad to face Russia

Kyle Lafferty: Blow to Northern Ireland hopes

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Kyle Lafferty has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad for the game against Russia after suffering an Achilles injury.

The Irish FA has confirmed that the Palermo ace will not be involved in the World Cup qualifier on Wednesday evening, a game you can watch exclusively live on Sky Sports 3 HD.

The Group F match was originally scheduled for March but was postponed because of heavy snow in Belfast.

Lafferty had been due to return to the side after missing the 2-0 defeat by Israel in the spring through suspension.

Martin Paterson, Will Grigg and Inverness' Billy McKay are the other strikers in Michael O'Neill's squad.

Northern Ireland's hopes of qualification are slim - they have just three points to their name, and are nine points adrift of the second-placed Russians - while O'Neill is still looking for his first win after nine attempts.