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  1. ITV Report

Kyle Lafferty named in Northern Ireland squad

Kyle Lafferty pulled out of last month's squad at short notice. Credit: Press Eye

Kyle Lafferty has been named in the Northern Ireland squad to face the Republic of Ireland and Austria next week.

It comes as a surprise, after the Rangers striker was a late withdrawal from last month's squad.

Lafferty had phoned his international boss Michael O'Neill at midnight the day before the squad were due to travel.

The Irish Football Association implemented Fifa's five-day rule to prevent him from returning to club action for the next game.

His return comes after apologising for "an error of judgement".

O'Neill said, quoted on the official Northern Ireland Twitter feed: "I've had a good conversation with Kyle Lafferty and the senior players.

"We are all happy he is back in the squad."

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Also included in the 28-strong group are under-21s trio Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard, Queen's Park Rangers winger Paul Smyth and Blackpool midfielder Jordan Thompson.

Under-21s captain Liam Donnelly, though, misses out as the Motherwell defender recovers from injury.

The friendly will be played in Dublin on 15 November, followed by the Nations League fixture against Austria at Windsor Park on the 18th.