Injuries leave McIlroy at his 'lowest ebb'

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Sammy McIlroy said yesterday that he was at his "lowest ebb" since taking the Northern Ireland manager's post as his severely-depleted side prepare to face Spain tonight.

McIlroy is missing 12 players for the Windsor Park friendly because of injury, suspension and club commitments. "I am disillusioned," McIlroy said. "This is my lowest ebb since I've been Northern Ireland manager. I want to do so well for the country, but sometimes this job kicks you in the teeth."

McIlroy could also be without Blackburn's Keith Gillespie and Ipswich's Jim Magilton. Gillespie has a sore throat while Magilton has family issues. McIlroy tried to call up striker James Quinn – but Bristol Rovers needed him for last night's league game – and he may have to bring in an Irish League player.