Blackpool's Dan Ballard called up to Northern Ireland squad for upcoming friendlies - but Arsenal loanee will link-up AFTER play-off final
Blackpool defender Dan Ballard has been named in Northern Ireland’s squad for their upcoming friendlies against Malta and Ukraine.
Ian Barraclough’s side take on Malta on Monday, May 31, just a day after Blackpool’s play-off final against Lincoln City.
The Northern Ireland squad, who were originally scheduled to take on Turkey before that game was postponed due to the government’s travel restrictions, are already in Austria, where their friendly will take place.
Barraclough’s side will then travel to Ukraine for their second friendly, which takes place on Thursday, June 3.
Speaking to The Gazette yesterday, Blackpool boss Neil Critchley revealed Ballard would link up with the Northern Ireland squad after Sunday’s final - fitness permitting.
The Seasiders are currently sweating over the fitness of their Arsenal loanee, after the centre-back suffered a groin injury during the second leg of their recent play-off semi-final win against Oxford United.
“He’s in the provisional squad, but they knew he would be involved in our semi-finals and now final,” Critchley said.
“Depending on how he is with his injury, he is due to meet up with Northern Ireland after our game on Sunday, but that will be fitness permitting.”
Also named in the Northern Ireland squad is former Seasider Jordan Thompson, who is now at Stoke City, and Shayne Lavery.
The prolific Linfield striker, who came through the youth ranks at Everton, was recently linked with a move to Bloomfield Road.Elsewhere, Pool midfielder Kenny Dougall has been called up to the Australian national team for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers, which take place in Kuwait.
The 28-year-old, who was born in Brisbane, has yet to be capped for his country.
Dougall will also fly out after Blackpool’s play-off final this weekend.
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