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Thursday 2 October 2014

McKay called up by Northern Ireland

Published 09/11/2012 | 22:48

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Billy McKay has been promoted to the full Northern Ireland squad

Uncapped Inverness striker Billy McKay has been added to the Northern Ireland squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.

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Although born in Corby, McKay was capped twice by Northern Ireland Under-21s in 2009-10 and now has the chance to make his senior international debut at Windsor Park on Wednesday.

Manager Michael O'Neill has issued the call to the 24-year-old after Derby forward Jamie Ward was forced to withdraw from the 24-man squad with a hamstring injury.

Although O'Neill has a handful of wingers in his panel, the withdrawal of Ward and the ongoing unavailability of Burnley's Martin Paterson left the former Shamrock Rovers boss somewhat short of in-form cover in the centre-forward position.

Kyle Lafferty is sure to lead the line in Belfast, potentially with Dean Shiels in a supporting role, with the likes of David Healy and Will Grigg set to be named among the substitutes.

But, with six goals to his name in 15 appearances this season, McKay has one more goal to his name this season than the latter pair combined.

Northern Ireland got their Group F campaign back on track last month with a 1-1 draw against Portugal in Porto and will be looking for their first win under O'Neill.

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