Published Thursday, 03 October 2013
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At a press conference on Thursday, manager Michael O'Neill said Plymouth Argyle's Rory McArdle has replaced the Fulham defender who was injured in training.
Chris Brunt, Chris Baird and Sammy Clingan all feature in the qualifying clashes.
Striker Kyle Lafferty - who O'Neill openly criticised after his dismissal in the Portugal game - is suspended for the Azerbaijan game but will be on standby for the Tel Aviv clash with Israel.
Kilmarnock midfielder Clingan has missed NI's last three qualifiers because of a knee injury.
O'Neill's side will be aiming to bounce back after the dismal 3-2 defeat to Luxembourg last month.
"They are the players that have served us throughout this campaign," O'Neill said.
"Certainly, we only made one change between Portugal and Luxembourg. Whilst we got a lot of plaudits on the back of the Portugal game, albeit a disappointing result in the end, they weren't the best in the world then and similarly they're not the worst in the world on the back of the Luxembourg game.
"I think they understand that that level of performance was poor. It was their poorest performance of the campaign, there's no doubt about that.
"Having spoken to a number of the players, they are well aware of that and I think this is an opportunity for them to put that right."
Northern Ireland take on Azerbaijan in Baku on next Friday and finish the campaign against Israel four days later.
NI squad to face Azerbaijan and Israel:
Carroll (Olympiacos), Mannus (St Johnstone), McGovern (Falkirk), McAuley (West Brom), J Evans (Man Utd), Bruce (Hull), Hodson (MK Dons), D Lafferty (Burnley) Cathcart (Blackpool), McArdle (Bradford), Baird (Reading), Davis (Southampton), Norwood (Huddersfield), McGinn (Aberdeen), Ferguson (Birmingham, on loan from Newcastle), C Evans (Blackburn), Brunt (West Brom), Clingan (Kilmarnock), Grigg (Brentford), McKay (Inverness), Paterson (Huddersfield), Ward (Derby), Magennis (Aberdeen).
© UTV News