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Northern Ireland keeper Roy Carroll misses crunch clash with Romania

Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll has been ruled out of Saturday's European Championship qualifier against Romania with abdominal pain, the Irish Football Association has announced.

Former Manchester United player Carroll, who now plays for League Two side Notts County, was ruled out just a day before Michael O'Neill's side take on the Group F leaders at Windsor Park.

The Irish, currently just a point behind their opponents, must now face a huge game without a player who until now has been ever-present in their qualifying campaign.

It means Hamilton Academical goalkeeper Michael McGovern, who played the second half of the recent 1-1 friendly draw with Qatar, is the favourite to take over against the Romanians.

Carroll sat out training on Thursday and Friday but at his pre-match press conference, O'Neill brushed aside concerns over the former Manchester United player.

"Roy has had a stomach upset but it's just precautionary that we sat him out of training," he said. "He'll be fine."

Within a couple of hours that bright prognosis proved to be overly optimistic, with Carroll withdrawing from the squad.

McGovern, 30, last featured in the 1-1 friendly against Qatar on May 31, replacing Carroll at half-time.

That places him ahead of Cheltenham's Trevor Carson, who has yet to make his senior international debut.

St Johnstone's Alan Mannus, meanwhile, would be forgiven for cursing his luck.

Mannus is a long-serving squad member and has served as Carroll's number two for much of the past three years, earning only seven caps despite making his international bow in 2004.

He made himself unavailable for the current squad having already booked his wedding and honeymoon, a decision that could have cost him his biggest break yet.

With little time to summon a replacement, Northern Ireland's 43-year-old goalkeeping coach Maik Taylor, an 88-cap veteran, has taken Carroll's place in the squad.

Taylor played his last professional game for Millwall in September 2012 before joining O'Neill's backroom staff.