Northern Ireland hit by injuries

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The Independent Online
Northern Ireland have been hit by the withdrawal of three defenders - Gerry Taggart, Darren Patterson and Neil Masters - for the European Championship qualifier against Portugal in Porto on Sunday.

The Bolton centre-half Taggart has an ankle problem, Luton's right-back Patterson has an Achilles injury while the Wolves left-back Masters, who was in line for his debut, is struggling with a knee problem.

With the Queen's Park Rangers centre-half Alan McDonald already ruled out by a one-match ban, manager Bryan Hamilton will be forced to field a patched-up defence against the Group Six leaders.

Arsenal's versatile Steve Morrow and the Wrexham centre-back Barry Hunter, who made a winning debut in Latvia in April, have been called up. Hunter may play alongside Leicester's Colin Hill in the middle of the back four, with the Manchester United reserve, Pat McGibbon, also in contention for a defensive place.

Jurgen Klinsmann, the former Tottenham striker, has been named in Germany's squad for next week's Group Seven qualifier against Georgia, despite still suffering from an ankle injury sustained playing for Bayern Munich earlier this month.

n Elfyn Edwards, the captain of non-League Winsford United, was shot in the chest by an air-rifle during a match on Monday but played on to help his side win the game 1-0. Spectators in the 210-strong crowd chased the gunman, who escaped, while referee Richard Sutton halted the UniBond League match against Marine for five minutes so Edwards could receive attention.

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