Hamilton returns to the tried and tested

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A dramatic change of luck has seen Neil Masters, the Wolves full back, clinch a place in Northern Ireland's squad for the European Championship Group Six qualifier away to Portugal on Sunday, 3 September.

Masters, the only newcomer in Bryan Hamilton's party, spent more time last season on Molineux's treatment table than the pitch and was offered for sale at the end of it by his manager, Graham Taylor.

The 23-year-old Lisburn-born player has been hit by a series of injuries since his pounds 500,000 transfer from Bournemouth 20 months ago. But he fought his way back from leg and back injuries to claim the left-back place in Wolves's opening game at Tranmere last Saturday.

Hamilton leaves out Masters' team-mate Robbie Dennison, Arsenal's Steve Morrow, and the Reading player-manager Jimmy Quinn after the surprise 2-1 home defeat by Latvia in June which ended his team's qualifying hopes. Back come the Walsall veteran Kevin Wilson, the Sunderland striker Phil Gray, the Manchester City midfielder Steve Lomas, and the Leicester defender Colin Hill.

NORTHERN IRELAND SQUAD (European Championship Group Six qualifier v Portugal, Oporto, 3 September): Fettis (Hull), Wood (Walsall), Patterson (Crystal Palace), Hill (Leicester), Taggart (Bolton), Gillespie (Newcastle), Lomas (Man City), Worthington (Leeds), Lennon (Crewe), Magilton (Southampton), Hughes (Strasbourg), Dowie (Crystal Palace), McGibbon (Man Utd), McMahon (Tottenham), Gray (Sunderland), Rowland (West Ham), Masters (Wolverhampton), Wilson (Walsall).

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