Football: Hughes to break pain barrier

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL HUGHES is prepared to play through the pain of a hernia problem for Northern Ireland in tomorrow's Euro 2000 qualifier against Moldova.

The Wimbledon winger's injury restricts his training and may ultimately require surgery but his willingness to appear is heartening news for Lawrie McMenemy. The Irish coach anticipated Hughes would have to withdraw from the match at Windsor Park when he heard that he had been substituted against Chelsea on Saturday. Hughes did not train yesterday, but he has assured McMenemy he will play tomorrow.

"There is no way I would want to miss this game, because if we beat Moldova then we will be top on six points with Finland and Turkey," he said.

Newcastle's Aaron Hughes, who strained a calf muscle on Saturday, became the fourth player to pull out yesterday following the withdrawals of Kevin Horlock, Jim Whitley and George O'Boyle. The Under-21 captain, Danny Griffin, and Luton's Phil Gray are called up.