Injured Jonny Evans named in Northern Ireland squad

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The Manchester United defender has been sidelined since the loss to Leicester City after damaging his leg, but Michael O'Neill has called him up as part of his latest 27-man party

Injured Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has returned to the Northern Ireland squad for their Euro 2016 qualifiers next month.

The 26-year-old has been sidelined since damaging his ankle in United's recent 5-3 loss at Leicester City, and was absent from Saturday's win over West Ham, with a return date as yet unspecified.

"Jonny Evans' bone is bruised a lot and we have to wait and see how it goes," United boss Louis van Gaal told the club's official website last week.

Evans was suspended for his side's Group F opener in Hungary earlier this month, a match which Northern Ireland won 2-1 thanks to late goals from Niall McGinn and Kyle Lafferty.

However, on Tuesday, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill included Evans in a 27-man party for their matches against Faroe Islands and Greece.

Paddy McCourt has earned a recall after impressing at Brighton and Hove Albion, while Port Vale's Ryan McGivern is also included.

Meanwhile, O'Neill's assistant, Billy McKinlay, has stepped down from his post after being appointed head coach at Watford.

"I recognise I've got to concentrate my efforts solely on this club role so it is with regret that I'll be stepping down," he said.

"I am very grateful to both the Irish FA and to Michael O'Neill, who I've known since the early part of my playing career, for the opportunity to serve Northern Ireland.

"But there is no question in my mind that my attention must be fully on bringing success to Watford."

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Roy Carroll (Notts County), Alan Mannus (St Johnstone), Michael McGovern (Hamilton Academical)

Defenders: Chris Baird (West Brom), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Jonny Evans (Manchester United), Aaron Hughes (Brighton and Hove Albion), Gareth McAuley (West Brom), Luke McCullough (Doncaster Rovers), Ryan McGivern (Port Vale), Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood Town), Ryan McLaughlin (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Chris Brunt (West Brom), Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock), Steven Davis (Southampton), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Shane Ferguson (Newcastle United), Paddy McCourt (Brighton and Hove Albion), Oliver Norwood (Reading), Paul Paton (Dundee United), Ben Reeves (MK Dons)
                
Forwards: Will Grigg (MK Dons), Kyle Lafferty (Norwich City), Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Billy McKay (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Jamie Ward (Derby County).

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