Cathcart comes back into NI fold

The 21-year-old, who joined the Seasiders from Manchester United in

the summer, could be in line for his first cap after missing May’s

friendlies with Turkey and Chile and the friendly in Montenegro

earlier this month. Fulham defender Aaron Hughes has returned after

injury, while 17-year-old Wolves winger Johnny Gorman has kept his

place and could make his first competitive appearance for his

country. Cathcart is the only uncapped player in the 20-man party.

Manchester United pair Jonny and Corry Evans are both in the squad,

the latter impressing in the recent friendlies despite also not

having played a competitive first-team game for the Old Trafford

club. Gorman, who is still at school, is also still to appear for

the Wolves first team. There is no place in the squad, though, for

the Evans brothers’ United club-mate Oliver Norwood, nor Celtic

midfielder Paddy McCourt. Northern Ireland will be hoping for a

better result than they got the last time they travelled to

Maribor, when they suffered a 2-0 defeat in a World Cup qualifier

in October 2008. Squad: Maik Taylor (Birmingham), Jonathan Tuffey

(Inverness), Alan Blayney (Linfield); Jonny Evans (Man Utd),

Stephen Craigan (Motherwell), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool), Gareth

McAuley (Ipswich), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Chris Baird (Fulham);

Grant McCann (Peterborough), Chris Brunt (West Brom), Jonny Gorman

(Wolves), Corry Evans (Man Utd), Steven Davis (Rangers), Sammy

Clingan (Coventry); David Healy (Sunderland), Warren Feeney

(Oldham), Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Martin Paterson (Burnley), Rory

Patterson (Plymouth).