Northern Ireland without McCann for Azerbaijan qualifier

The 32-year-old Peterborough midfielder is set to miss his country’s must-win clash with the European minnows as his wife is expected to give birth in the coming days
Grant McCann is set to miss Northern Ireland’s World Cup 2014 qualifying clash with Azerbaijan as his wife is expected to give birth this week.

The 32-year-old had anticipated his exclusion, posting on his official Twitter account on Thursday: "Praying my wife has the baby before I meet up next week with N Ireland. Thought it was coming, but wasn't to be."

And the Irish Football Association have now confirmed that the Peterborough midfielder has been forced to withdraw from Wednesday's game.

"Grant McCann has withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad to play Azerbaijan on Wednesday due to family reasons,” a statement read.

"No replacements have been called up."

McCann is the fifth player to pull out of Michael O'Neill's original 24-man squad after Jonny Evans, Alex Bruce, Andy Little and Jamie Ward all succumbed to injury.

O'Neill drafted in uncapped Inverness striker Billy McKay in place of Ward on Sunday, and Burnley’s Danny Lafferty also earned a call-up as cover at left-back.