Worthington positive on Craigan

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The Northern Ireland manager, Nigel Worthington, is hopeful the Motherwell defender, Stephen Craigan, could be available for tonight's friendly with Bulgaria after all.

Craigan was withdrawn from the squad after Motherwell's Scottish Cup tie with Dundee on Saturday was rearranged for last night but more bad weather in Scotland saw the fixture called off again.

That opened up the possibility that Craigan could join up with the national squad as planned and Worthington was trying to reach an arrangement with Motherwell last night.

Worthington said: "I have spoken to Stephen and I have expressed my wishes for him to be here. He is speaking to [his manager] Mark McGhee and will get back to us." If Craigan arrives, he is unlikely to start with Worthington having already looked at different defensive options. The likes of Gareth McAuley, Chris Baird, Sean Webb and Jonny Evans are all candidates to play alongside captain Aaron Hughes.

Worthington added: "Stephen is very important to the squad, as are all the other players because we are not blessed with huge numbers. Each and every player is very valuable to the group. For him to turn up and take part is very useful. But I will be looking to try as many people as possible, for themselves and me to have a look at."