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Thursday 14 Mar 2024
O’Neill reveals squad for games v Romania and Scotland

Michael O’Neill has included one newcomer in his 26-strong squad for this month’s away friendlies against Romania and Scotland.

The Northern Ireland boss has called Stevenage forward Jamie Reid into the senior panel for the first time for the games in Bucharest and Glasgow.

Former U21 international Reid has had an excellent season with Stevenage in EFL League One to date, scoring 21 goals in 44 outings for the Hertfordshire club.

The 29-year-old, who was born in Torquay, qualifies for Northern Ireland through his grandmother, who was born in Belfast. He won two U21 caps, against Cyprus and Belgium, in 2013. 

The first of this month’s friendlies will see Michael O’Neill’s team play the Romanians at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest on Friday 22 March (7.45pm kick-off UK time).

Then, on Tuesday 26 March, they will come up against Steve Clarke’s Scotland side at Hampden Park in Glasgow (7.45pm start).

Back in the fold for the two international challenge matches is Liverpool defender/midfielder Conor Bradley, who missed all six of Northern Ireland’s UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers in the autumn with a stress fracture in his back.

Also returning to the squad after missing the Euro qualifiers against Finland and Denmark back in November due to injury are Aarhus keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Preston North End midfielder Alistair McCann and in-form Portsmouth winger Paddy Lane.

Peacock-Farrell has been included in the 23-strong panel despite suffering a nasty gash to the head when playing for Aarhus against Odense in the Danish Superliga at the start of this month.

Also in the squad is Bolton Wanderers striker Dion Charles, who has missed a handful of club games recently after picking up a knee injury.

St Mirren midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce and Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Stephen McMullan, who are both yet to earn a senior cap, and Rangers winger Ross McCausland have retained their places in the panel. McCausland and McMullan received their first senior call-ups for the games against Finland and Denmark late last year, with McCausland making his debut in Helsinki.

However, Manchester United defender and Northern Ireland centurion Jonny Evans, who missed the games against the Finns and Danes, is not in the panel once again.

Missing due to injury this time are Derby County striker Conor Washington, West Ham United defender Michael Forbes and Portsmouth midfielder Terry Devlin, while Wycombe Wanderers striker Dale Taylor has switched to the U21s for their games against Czechia and Serbia later this month.

Also missing out are wingers Jordan Jones (Wigan Athletic) and Matthew Kennedy (Kilmarnock).

Goalkeepers – Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Aarhus, on loan from Burnley), Conor Hazard (Plymouth Argyle), Luke Southwood (Cheltenham Town), Stephen McMullan (Fleetwood Town).

Defenders - Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough), Jamal Lewis (Watford, on loan from Newcastle United), Daniel Ballard (Sunderland), Ciaron Brown (Oxford United), Conor Bradley (Liverpool), Trai Hume (Sunderland), Brodie Spencer (Huddersfield Town), Eoin Toal (Bolton Wanderers).

Midfielders - George Saville (Millwall), Jordan Thompson (Stoke City), Alistair McCann (Preston North End), Shea Charles (Southampton), Conor McMenamin (St Mirren), Paul Smyth (Queens Park Rangers), Isaac Price (Standard Liege), Patrick Lane (Portsmouth), Ross McCausland (Rangers), Caolan Boyd-Munce (St Mirren).

Forwards - Josh Magennis (Wigan Athletic), Dion Charles (Bolton Wanderers), Callum Marshall (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from West Ham United), Jamie Reid (Stevenage).