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For Whom The Bell Tols

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Academy defender Lee Toland is on standby for Northern Ireland Under-21s, and Shane Ferguson is in the squad

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Northern Ireland Under-21s could field two Newcastle United players in their European Under-21 Championships qualfying games against Serbia and Denmark.

Shane Ferguson is in the squad for the matches, in Novi Sad on Friday and Glentoran next Tuesday, while Academy left-back Lee Toland is on standby.

Toland, 17, is also in the Ulstermen's Under-19 squad for two friendlies against Switzerland in Ballymoney on Saturday and next Monday.

Like fellow Academy graduate Ferguson, Toland hails from Derry. He played for his country in this summer's Milk Cup, when Northern Ireland were narrowly beaten by Denmark in the final.

Academy Manager Joe Joyce said: "We had good reports on him from that tournament, and now he's had a call-up for the friendly matches against Switzerland and he's also been put on standby for the under-21s.

"That's good recognition for him and it shows the competition for places at our Academy now. Michael Riley, who's currently in the left-back slot, has played a number of games for the Reserves and the Development squad and Lee is hot on his heels.

"They're working together - but they're also working to get that number three shirt."

Another defender, Tamas Kadar, is in the Hungary Under-21 squad to face the Republic of Ireland (away, Thursday) and Italy (home, next Tuesday) in qualifying games.

But Paul Dummett will not play for Wales Under-21s against Montenegro on Tuesday. The full-back is not fully recovered from the hip injury he suffered against Gateshead in pre-season.