Potential Paddy McNair injury boost as Middlesbrough man is included in Northern Ireland squad

Middlesbrough duo Paddy McNair and George Saville have both been included in Northern Ireland’s 26-man squad for their upcoming international fixtures.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 12:20 pm

Middlesbrough duo Paddy McNair and George Saville have both been included in Northern Ireland’s 26-man squad for their upcoming international fixtures.

Ian Baraclough’s side will play three games later this month, including their first 2022 World Cup qualifying fixtures against Italy (Thursday, 25 March) and Bulgaria (Wednesday, 31 March), as well as a friendly against USA (Sunday 28 March).

McNair and Saville have been regulars for their national side under Baraclough and former manager Michael O'Neill.

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Middlesbrough's Paddy McNair.
Middlesbrough's Paddy McNair.

Boro boss Neil Warnock will be hoping the pair return injury free, especially after McNair was forced off with a knee issue against Preston last time out.

“It's a funny one, it's round the front of his kneecap,” said Warnock when asked about McNair after the game.

"He knew straight away he'd have to come off. I haven't spoken to the doc because I've had to do all the interviews. We'll find out later.”

Boro face a trip to Bournemouth just two days after Northern Ireland’s game against Bulgaria, with Warnock labelling the scheduling 'scandalous.’

“The Irish lads go away and play three games in 10 days finishing on a Wednesday night in Northern Ireland and we go to Bournemouth on a Friday. It's scandalous,” said Warnock after Boro’s 2-0 win over Preston.

Boro are now preparing for this weekend’s trip to Millwall, where the Teessiders will be hoping to record a third successive victory.

Warnock’s side have moved to within five points of the play-off places following the win over Preston and Reading’s defeat at Birmingham.

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