Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has chosen a 24-strong squad for next month's UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers away to Slovenia and Kazakhstan.
The panel for the games against the Slovenians and Kazakhs includes one new face in Kilmarnock midfielder Brad Lyons.
The 26-year-old, who starred for Coleraine in the NIFL Premiership before moving to Blackburn Rovers and on to St Mirren (loan) and Morecambe (loan) prior to joining Kilmarnock in 2021, has been producing some excellent performances in the Scottish Premiership this season. It’s his first call-up for his country at any level.
Experienced strikers Josh Magennis (Wigan Athletic) and Conor Washington (Derby County), who both missed the qualifiers against Denmark and Kazakhstan in June through injury, have returned to the squad along with Sunderland defender Daniel Ballard, who was also on the treatment table in early summer.
And returning to the fold is Queens Park Rangers winger Paul Smyth (pictured, below), who last played for Northern Ireland in 2021. The former Linfield player is in his second spell with QPR in the EFL Championship after signing from Leyton Orient earlier this summer. He was a key figure for Orient as they won the EFL League Two title last season.
Eight players who were in the senior men’s squad in June are not included this time.
Unavailable due to injury are Watford full-back Jamal Lewis, Liverpool wing-back Conor Bradley and Nottingham Forest defender Aaron Donnelly.
Also missing out are Leyton Orient midfielder Ethan Galbraith, Larne striker Lee Bonis, West Ham United forward Callum Marshall, midfielder Sean Goss (unattached) and Portsmouth midfielder Paddy Lane.
Meanwhile, the experienced midfield quartet of Steven Davis (Rangers), Corry Evans (Sunderland), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) and Shane Ferguson (Rotherham United) are continuing their rehabilitation from long-term injuries.
The Group H qualifier against Slovenia is being staged at the Stozice Stadion in Ljubljana on Thursday 7 September (19.45 BST), while the match against Kazakhstan is due to be played in the Astana Stadium in Astana on Sunday 10 September (14.00 BST).
Kazakhstan currently lie second in Group H on nine points thanks to three wins from four games, while Slovenia are fourth with seven points and Northern Ireland fifth on three points.
Northern Ireland squad for UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers against Slovenia (a) and Kazakhstan (a):
Goalkeepers: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Aarhus, on loan from Burnley), Conor Hazard (Plymouth Argyle), Luke Southwood (Cheltenham Town).
Defenders: Jonny Evans (unattached), Craig Cathcart (unattached), Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), Daniel Ballard (Sunderland), Ciaron Brown (Oxford United), Trai Hume (Sunderland).
Midfielders: George Saville (Millwall), Gavin Whyte (Portsmouth), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Alistair McCann (Preston North End), Shea Charles (Southampton), Conor McMenamin (St Mirren), Isaac Price (Standard Liege), Paul Smyth (Queens Park Rangers), Matthew Kennedy (Kilmarnock), Brad Lyons (Kilmarnock).
Forwards: Josh Magennis (Wigan Athletic), Conor Washington (Derby County), Shayne Lavery (Blackpool), Dion Charles (Bolton Wanderers), Dale Taylor (Wycombe Wanderers, on loan from Nottingham Forest).