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The Manchester United defender made a return to playing in his country’s 2-0 defeat to Russia on Friday but now faces a race to be fit for their next World Cup qualifier

Jonny Evans is a major fitness doubt for Northern Ireland ahead of their World Cup 2014 qualifying match against Luxembourg on Tuesday night.

The Manchester United man has not featured for his club at all so far this season but played the full 90 minutes of his country's 2-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow on Friday.

Evans had ankle surgery over the summer and was being eased back into first-team contention at Old Trafford before playing for Michael O'Neill's national team. Despite appearing to limp off at half-time during the match at the Lokomotiv Stadium, Evans was able to finish the match, although he admits he did so in discomfort.

"I've only played one reserve game this season after having the surgery in the summer so to be honest, it was just good to get back on the pitch," he told reporters.

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"But I felt my ankle after about five minutes. It was the same one I had surgery on in the summer but I got a heavier strap put on it and I was able to carry on for the second half.

"I was disappointed I felt pain so quickly in the game but if I'm being honest, I always expected I would feel a little pain - just not that early.

"After a couple of painkillers it did feel a bit better and if anything I felt stronger as the game went on, but like I say, I had a heavier strapping on then."

Having lost their opener in Russia and with Portugal yet to come, O'Neill's men will need to take maximum points from their home clash with minnows Luxembourg on Tuesday.

And after a night of defending for their lives in Moscow on Friday, Evans is expecting a totally different type of game at Windsor Park on Tuesday.

"On Tuesday I would like to think we will have more of the ball and try to attack Luxembourg more," he added.

"Of course that is always a potential banana skin for us but people will be expecting us to put on a show and get a win.

"The really pleasing thing [about the Russia match] is that we all stuck together and that is going to be crucial throughout the campaign.

"We are happy with most of our play in Russia but we know it is a different task on Tuesday and hopefully we will get our campaign at Windsor Park off to the best start."

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