Cathcart gets Northern Ireland call

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Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart has been recalled to the Northern Ireland squad for their opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia in Maribor next Friday.

The 21-year-old, who joined the Seasiders from Manchester United in the summer, could be in line for his first cap after missing May's friendlies with Turkey and Chile and the friendly in Montenegro earlier this month.

Fulham defender Aaron Hughes has returned after injury, while 17-year-old Wolves winger Johnny Gorman has kept his place and could make his first competitive appearance for his country.

Cathcart is the only uncapped player in the 20-man party.

Manchester United pair Jonny and Corry Evans are both in the squad, the latter impressing in the recent friendlies despite also not having played a competitive first-team game for the Old Trafford club.

Gorman, who is still at school, is also still to appear for the Wolves first team.

There is no place in the squad, though, for the Evans brothers' United club-mate Oliver Norwood, nor Celtic midfielder Paddy McCourt.

Northern Ireland will be hoping for a better result than they got the last time they travelled to Maribor, when they suffered a 2-0 defeat in a World Cup qualifier in October 2008.

Northern Ireland squad for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia on September 3:

Maik Taylor (Birmingham), Jonathan Tuffey (Inverness), Alan Blayney (Linfield); Jonny Evans (Man Utd), Stephen Craigan (Motherwell), Craig Cathcart (Blackpool), Gareth McAuley (Ipswich), Aaron Hughes (Fulham), Chris Baird (Fulham); Grant McCann (Peterborough), Chris Brunt (West Brom), Jonny Gorman (Wolves), Corry Evans (Man Utd), Steven Davis (Rangers), Sammy Clingan (Coventry); David Healy (Sunderland), Warren Feeney (Oldham), Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Martin Paterson (Burnley), Rory Patterson (Plymouth)

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Craig Cathcart

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