McAuley's injury is being assessed

IPSWICH Town team captain Gareth McAuley was being assessed today after limping out of last night's Northern Ireland World Cup qualifier after 61 minutes.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town team captain Gareth McAuley was being assessed today after limping out of last night's Northern Ireland World Cup qualifier after 61 minutes.

First reports suggest that McAuley is suffering from a hamstring problem.

McAuley was on an early plane out of Belfast this morning - along with Town boss Jim Magilton, who was working for Irish TV last night - and was heading straight for physio Matt Byard's treatment room.

Winning his 13th full cap, McAuley was booked in the first half of a routine 4-0 win over San Marino.

Town have a full bill of health apart from the 28-year-old McAuley and Ben Thatcher, who is now running and cycling after his thigh muscle tear but still a couple of weeks away from a return.

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Alex Bruce will be fit for selection despite departing the Republic of Ireland squad early, and Moritz Volz (hamstring) and Pim Balkestein (groin) are okay with the latter showing no reaction after 45 minutes with the reserves on Tuesday.

Balkestein replaced McAuley at Southampton last month when the Northern Irishman was out with a dead leg and could do so again for the visit of Swansea to Portman Road on Saturday.

Midfielder Veliche Shumulikoski played the full 90 minutes as Macedonia lost 1-0 to an Iceland side featuring former Town star Hermann Hreidarsson in hard-up Reykjavik last night.

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