Northern Ireland to rest Lafferty, Baird
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is set to give suspended pair Chris Baird and Kyle Lafferty time away from the squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Russia.
Despite both players being suspended for the visit to Russia, O’Neill has included them into the 26-man squad for the clash against Israel several days later. The duo is expected to be in Belfast within the next few days, but Neil revealed he does not expect players to attend the training session ahead of the game with Russia, but will include them full training after the encounter mentioned.
He said: “With both players there is no real benefit to having them (training) with us now, so we’ll look to bring them in later in the week when the focus turns to the Israel game. That gives the likes of Bairdy and Kyle the chance to see family back here in Belfast. They’re at the stage of the season where two days off and away from it won’t harm them in any way or affect them fitness-wise at all. It’s always difficult to be involved when you know you can’t play: it’s not great for them and it’s not ideal for the team either.”
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