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Thursday 07 Mar 2024
Wright reveals squad for upcoming U21 matches

Northern Ireland Under-21s boss Tommy Wright has announced his squad for a friendly and a Euro qualifier later this month.

Wright has made numerous changes to the U21s panel for the away games against Czechia and Serbia.

First up for the U21s is an international challenge match against the Czechs on Thursday 21 March in the CFIG Arena in Pardubice (5.30pm kick-off UK time).

Their second game in the March international window is a UEFA U21 Euro 2025 qualifier against Serbia on Tuesday 26 March. That game is being staged in the Gradski Stadion Dubocica in Leskovac (6pm start UK time).

Twelve of the players who were in the U21s squad for the Euro qualifier against England at Goodison Park in Liverpool back in November are not included this time, although the squad has reduced from 26 to 22 players.

Sean Stewart (Cliftonville, on loan from Norwich City) is back after missing the England game through injury, while fellow defender Sam McClelland, who is on loan at Dundee United from St Johnstone, also makes a comeback after a spell on the sidelines.

Defender Craig Farquhar, now with Crystal Palace, returns to the fold as well. He last featured with the U21s in September when he was a Larne player.

The engine room will be boosted by the return of Sean McAllister. The midfielder, who is currently on loan at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, missed out on the game against England at the home of his parent club Everton due to injury.

Linfield striker Chris McKee, who was also crocked in November, has been named among the strikers alongside Wycombe Wanderers forward Dale Taylor, who was with the seniors back in the autumn.

Sheffield Wednesday keeper Pierce Charles gets his first call-up as he steps up from the U19s, while also receiving his first call-up to the U21s is Cliftonville defender Odhran Casey.

Among the dozen players not included this time are U21 regulars Michael Forbes (West Ham United), Terry Devlin (Portsmouth) and JJ McKiernan (Morecambe) who are all on the treatment table just now.

The Northern Ireland U21s squad for the upcoming games is as follows:

Goalkeepers - Fraser Barnsley (Everton), Pierce Charles (Sheffield Wednesday).

Defenders - Carl Johnston (Fleetwood Town), Aaron Donnelly (Dundee, on loan from Nottingham Forest), Tommy Fogarty (Ebbsfleet United, on loan from Birmingham City), Sean Stewart (Cliftonville, on loan from Norwich City), Odhran Casey (Cliftonville), Ruairi McConville (Brighton and Hove Albion), Ethan McGee (Linfield), Sam McClelland (Dundee United, on loan from St Johnstone), Craig Farquhar (Crystal Palace).

Midfielders - Patrick Kelly (West Ham United), Barry Baggley (Waterford, on loan from Fleetwood Town), Justin Devenny (Crystal Palace), Jamie McDonnell (Nottingham Forest), Charlie Allen (York Citry, on loan from Leeds United), Sean McAllister (Inverness Caledonian Thistle, on loan from Everton), Darren Robinson (Derby County).

Forwards - Ciaran McGuckin (Dundalk, on loan from Rotherham United), Chris McKee (Linfield), Dale Taylor (Wycombe Wanderers, on loan from Nottingham Forest), Conor Falls (Huddersfield Town).