Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill will be forced to reshape his team for Friday’s night’s World Cup qualifier against Portugal at Windsor Park following the withdrawal of defender Craig Cathcart.
The big Blackpool man, who was a star performer in last month’s astonishing victory over Fabio Capello’s Russia in Belfast, sustained a knee injury playing for his club at the weekend.
It was O’Neill’s first win since he took over the post, succeeding Nigel Worthington almost two years ago.
Even though many of Northern Ireland’s ‘big guns’ are scheduled to return to the squad - including Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt and Kyle Lafferty - O’Neill was contemplating naming the same team that did extraordinarily well last time out, with the exception of Daniel Lafferty, who is suspended.
The Burnley player is available for the second part of the double header, with O’Neill’s boys away to Luxembourg four days later.
O’Neill admitted last week that he could face a ‘selection headache’ if all players report for duty.
Kilmarnock defender Rory McKeown is drafted into the panel for the first time, while Aberdeen striker Josh Magennis received a call.
McKeown (20) was brought to Killie from Ipswich Town by former boss Kenny Shiels.
Evans, who pulled out of the match against Russia only hours before the kick-off due to sickness, is set to resume in the centre of defence with the impressive Gareth McAuley.
The reliable Aaron Hughes will continue at right back, while Ryan McGivern is likely to replace Lafferty. West Brom midfielder Brunt is back from suspension, while Lafferty has recovered from an Achilles injury.