SUNDERLAND'S Carl Winchester has been called up to the Northern Ireland senior squad after a number of players pulled out for their World Cup qualifiers. 

Winchester, 28, has one senior cap to his name which was earned more than a decade ago against Wales coming on as a substitute. 

After a number of strong performances this season as Sunderland's right-back with three goals in eleven appearances, Winchester has earned the call to Ian Baraclough's squad for their Group C games against Switzerland and Bulgaria.

Dundee United goalkeeper Trevor Carson, Hearts defender Michael Smith, Preston North End midfielder Gavin Whyte and Blackpool striker Shayne Lavery have all dropped out. They'll be replaced by Winchester, Liverpool goalkeeper Liam Huges, Morecambe defender Ryan McLaughlin and Leyton Orient striker Paul Smyth. 

Winchester joins fellow Sunderland duo Corry Evans and Tom Flanagan in the senior squad.

The Black Cats have postponed this weekend's game against Oxford United due to several international call ups to senior players including Callum Doyle and Dennis Cirkin.