FOOTBALL: Northern Ireland’s Gareth McAuley looks set to miss World Cup qualifiers

Northern Irelands Gareth McAuley
Northern Irelands Gareth McAuley

West Brom manager Tony Pulis believes Gareth McAuley will miss Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and the Czech Republic.

Centre-back McAuley, 37, has been ruled out of West Brom’s Premier League opener against Bournemouth today because of a thigh injury.

Pulis said yesterday that McAuley “won’t be fit for a couple of weeks”.

Northern Ireland face San Marino away on 1 September before hosting the Czechs three days later.

“He’s still struggling with his thigh so that’s a problem for us,” added the West Brom boss.

McAuley made his 72nd international appearance in the World Cup qualifier win in June but lasted only 23 minutes as he was forced off after suffering a recurrence of the thigh injury.

Up until his withdrawal in Baku, McAuley had played every minute of his nation’s World Cup qualification campaign.

Liam Boyce Jamie Ward (calf) and Paddy McNair (knee) are also unlikely to return in time.