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Ward out of Azerbaijan clash

8 November 2012

Derby forward Jamie Ward has pulled out of Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan next week due to an ongoing hamstring injury.

Ward was included in Michael O'Neill's 24-man squad despite not having played for his club since September 30.

Rams boss Nigel Clough told reporters: "He won't be fit - I can understand they want him but firstly he has to be fit for us."

He added: "He's not looking like he'll be back this week, so it would be difficult for him to make next week's international."

The Irish Football Association followed up by confirming the 26-year-old's withdrawal, with a brief statement that read: "Jamie has been ruled out of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Azerbaijan next week as a result of a hamstring injury."

No replacement has been named.

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