Northern Ireland Under-19s boss Gerard Lyttle has chosen a 20-strong squad to compete in the upcoming elite round of the UEFA U19 Euro 2023 qualifiers.
The U19s are set to face France, Romania and Norway in Group 1 of the elite round, with the four-team mini tournament being staged in France.
Lyttle’s panel shows seven changes from the squad that secured a place in the second stage of the qualifiers.
The U19s manager has had to shuffle the pack as some key players are currently on the treatment table, including defenders Michael Forbes (West Ham United) and Ruairi McConville (Brighton and Hove Albion), both of whom are regular starters for the U21 teams at their respective clubs.
However, influential Nottingham Forest midfielder Jamie McDonnell is back after missing the stage one qualifiers due to injury.
Above: Northern Ireland U17s / U19s manager Gerard Lyttle
Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Pierce Charles, Huddersfield Town striker Conor Falls and Portadown defender Reece Jordan also return after missing out last time around.
Birmingham City defender Tommy Fogarty is back a year after playing for the U19s at the Football Federations Cup in Spain, while new to the U19s set-up are Glenavon pair Jamie Doran and Aaron Prendergast. Doran operates in midfield, while Prendergast is an attacker.
Northern Ireland’s Under-19s will get their elite round qualification campaign under way against hosts France at Stade de la Source in Orleans on Wednesday 22 March (5pm start UK time).
Matchday two in Group 1 will see them take on the Romanians at Stade Jacques Mazzuca in Saran on Saturday 25 March (2pm start UK time).
And their final group game is against Norway at the same venue in Saran on Tuesday 28 March. The game in north-central France is scheduled to kick off at 2pm (UK time).
Gerard Lyttle’s U19 side booked their place in the U19 Euro 2023 elite qualifying round after finishing second inGroup 13 of the initial qualifying round back in September.
In their group Northern Ireland drew 2-2 with table toppers Slovenia in game one and then 0-0 with mini tournament hosts Netherlands before registering a 2-0 win over Moldova. They pipped the Dutch to the runners-up spot in the group on goals scored.
In the U19 elite round only the winners of the seven groups will qualify to join hosts Malta at the UEFA U19 Euro finals in July.
Lyttle, who manages Northern Ireland’s U19s and U17s, will be in charge of the U19s for their elite qualifying round in France while the U17s are competing in an elite qualifying round for UEFA U17 Euro 2023 in the Netherlands. Sean-Paul Murray and Kris Lindsay have been drafted in to coach the U17s instead.
Goalkeepers – Josh Clarke (Celtic), Pierce Charles (Sheffield Wednesday).
Defenders – Daithi McCallion (Finn Harps, on loan from Derry City), Dylan Sloan (Newry City, on loan from Larne), Josh Roney (Stoke City), Reece Jordan (Portadown), Aaron Wightman (Glentoran), Brodie Spencer (Huddersfield Town), Tommy Fogarty (Birmingham City).
Midfielders – Conor Scannell (Ards), Jamie McDonnell (Nottingham Forest), Darren Robinson (Derby County), Rio Morgan (Ipswich Town), Jamie Doran (Glenavon).
Forwards – Charlie Lindsay (Rangers), Callum Marshall (West Ham United), Aaron Prendergast (Glenavon), Makenzie Kirk (Hearts), Sam Glenfield (Fleetwood Town), Conor Falls (Huddersfield Town).