Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll has been ruled out of Saturday’s key Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania due to abdominal pain.
Carroll, 37, is a cornerstone of Michael O’Neill’s side, playing every minute of his 15 competitive fixtures as manager.
But that ever-present run will end at Windsor Park after the Irish Football Association announced the Notts County keeper had been ruled out of the top-of-the-table clash.
Hamilton shot-stopper Michael McGovern, who has just three friendly caps to his name, is in line to deputise.
Carroll sat out training on Thursday and Friday but at his pre-match press conference, O’Neill brushed aside concerns over the former Manchester United player.
“Roy has had a stomach upset but it’s just precautionary that we sat him out of training,” he said. “He’ll be fine.”
Within a couple of hours that bright prognosis proved to be overly optimistic, with Carroll withdrawing from the squad.
McGovern, 30, last featured in the 1-1 friendly against Qatar on May 31, replacing Carroll at half-time.
That places him ahead of Cheltenham’s Trevor Carson, who has yet to make his senior international debut.
St Johnstone’s Alan Mannus, meanwhile, would be forgiven for cursing his luck.
Mannus is a long-serving squad member and has served as Carroll’s number two for much of the past three years, earning only seven caps despite making his international bow in 2004.
He made himself unavailable for the current squad having already booked his wedding and honeymoon, a decision that could have cost him his biggest break yet.
With little time to summon a replacement, Northern Ireland’s 43-year-old goalkeeping coach Maik Taylor, an 88-cap veteran, has taken Carroll’s place in the squad.
Taylor played his last professional game for Millwall in September 2012 before joining O’Neill’s backroom staff.