31/08/2004

Mulryne and Baird out of NI squad

Northern Ireland have lost two players through injury ahead of this weekend's opening World Cup qualifier against Poland at Windsor Park.

The loss of Norwich's Philip Mulryne (groin) and Southampton's Chris Baird (ankle) means manager Lawrie Sanchez is down to a 21-man squad however the former Wycombe boss has refused to call up any replacements, barring any further injuries, meaning there is still no place for Bristol City's Tommy Doherty.

Sanchez's squad arrived in Belfast on Monday without Sunderland duo George McCartney and Jeff Whitley, plus Hull's Stuart Elliott, however all three will team up with the squad on Wednesday after club games.

Saturday's game, which is going out live across the UK on BBC1, is Sanchez's first competitive match in charge.

He took over from Sammy McIlroy last year leading Northern Ireland on a six-game unbeaten run culminating in the recent 0-0 draw with Switzerland, their best sequence of results since the heyday of Billy Bingham in the mid-1980s.

(MB)

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