Northern Ireland hit by injury crisis

Michael O'Neill
© PA Photos
Northern Ireland lose four key players ahead of their World Cup qualifying clash with Portugal.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has been hit by an injury crisis ahead of next week's World Cup qualifier against Portugal.

Former Shamrock Rovers coach O'Neill has been forced to reshape his squad for Tuesday's visit to Porto after four players withdrew through injury.

Hibernian centre-back James McPake, Hull City defender Joe Dudgeon, Newcastle midfielder Shane Ferguson and Burnley striker Martin Paterson have all withdrawn from the match.

O'Neill has called upon Burnley full-back Danny Lafferty, Watford defender Lee Hodson and Bradford City defender Rory McArdle as replacements for the Group F clash.

Northern Ireland go into Tuesday's game in fourth place in the group with one point from two games, while their opponents are joint-top with a 100% record.

Michael O'Neill
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