Kyle Lafferty Ian Baraclough Northern Ireland Sport Scotland Ireland Kosovo soccer Kyle Lafferty Ian Baraclough Northern Ireland Sport Scotland Ireland Kosovo

Baraclough: Door not closed on Lafferty's Northern Ireland career

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Ian Baraclough has insisted Kyle Lafferty can still have a Northern Ireland future after the veteran Kilmarnock striker was sent home from the squad on Friday morning.Northern Ireland's second highest goal-scorer is the subject of an investigation being conducted by his club after a video circulated on social media appearing to show him using alleged sectarian language.In a sometimes tense press conference ahead of the Nations League match against Kosovo, Baraclough said a back injury, which had prevented Lafferty from training since Tuesday and would have ruled him out of Saturday's fixture, also played a role in the decision.The back injury was also mentioned in an Irish Football Association statement issued earlier on Friday, a statement which left the precise reason for Lafferty's withdrawal unclear.Questions about that statement were shut down in the press conference that followed, but Baraclough did say there was a way back for the 35-year-old Lafferty, who scored the last of his 20 international goals in 2016, and who has been in and out of the Northern Ireland squad over the past two years."It's not necessarily the end," Baraclough said. "It will be reported in some quarters as that and it will be sensationalised but I'm there for Kyle."It's not necessarily the end.

It will be reported in some quarters as that and it will be sensationalised but I'm there for Kyle."The fact was that Kyle hadn't trained since Tuesday.

He's got a back problem and that was something that was part of the thought going behind it as well."The Irish FA will not conduct its own investigation into the matter, leaving it in the hands of the Scottish Premiership side."He's not our contracted player," Baraclough said. "He's with us at this

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