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Worthington hoping for fit Feeney
Published : 29 Sep 2009 15:25:00
Feeney has yet to play a match this season after returning to Cardiff from a loan spell at Dundee United for treatment on a hip injury. However, Worthington has drafted in the 28-year-old as he is back in training and he is down on numbers in attack for the match in Prague on October 14. Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty is included even though he is still struggling with a knee problem. Burnley's Martin Paterson (knee) and Sheffield United's Jamie Ward (hamstring) are already sidelined through injury. Feeney scored twice in successive victories against Poland and Slovenia at the end of last season and Worthington said: "Warren is keen to be involved again. "He is back in training but not had a game so far, so he is well short of match fitness. Hopefully he will improve his fitness over the next couple of weeks and maybe get in a reserve game. "We have lost Paterson and Ward while Lafferty is not right yet, so Warren might be involved." Celtic midfielder Pat McCourt has been recalled following a spell of good form which has seen him score twice for his club in the past week. He followed his goal against Falkirk in Co-operative Cup by finding the target in the victory over St Mirren at the weekend. Worthington said: "Pat has had a very good week and it sends out a message to other players they can get in the group if they are playing well. "Pat with the ball is a good player but without the ball he needs to improve and work on. I have told him that." Northern Ireland need to finish the campaign with a victory in Prague if they are to have any hope of making the play-offs. The home defeat by Slovakia - after a draw was secured against Poland - was highly damaging and it later emerged that a group of players broke a curfew and were fined by the Irish Football Association. Supporters expressed their outrage on various websites about what they saw as a lack of professionalism ahead of the province's biggest game in 23 years. However the subject was off-limits when the squad was announced today. Worthington believes they are beginning to suffer because so few players are getting regular first team games. He said: "To play back to back games as we did against Poland and Slovakia is never easy. "With about 15 players in the group not starting at their clubs there is a severe lack of match fitness, which can hinder us. But we have to get on with it as best we can. "There is a glimmer of hope when we go to the Czech Republic. You know what I am like. I will not give up the fight until it becomes impossible. We did not do ourselves justice against Slovakia and want to finish in style."