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Monday 23 October 2017

'Faroes fixture bigger than Italian job' -- Worthington

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington wants his side to build on their fine start to the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign when they meet the Faroe Islands on Tuesday.

A goalless draw against former world champions Italy at Windsor Park increased the feelgood factor in the camp following the victory over Slovenia last month.

However, with the Faroes managed by former Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr, Worthington expects a stiff test.

He said: "I see this game as a bigger one than playing Italy. Why? They have a manager who knows the British game and knows our players. So we have got to go and do a job. If we can get three points on Tuesday that would be a fantastic start for us in the group. It keeps the door wide open for us. What we have to do in that game is go and do a good professional job."

It could have been even better for Northern Ireland last night had David Healy found the target instead of the wrong side of the post in the first half following a cross from Chris Brunt.

Then, as time was running out, Steve Davis was denied by goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, who made a good block.

Healy has not scored for Northern Ireland in two years now and remains out of the picture at Sunderland.



Mackie open to any Scot role

Jamie Mackie has told Scotland boss Craig Levein he is willing to play anywhere in any formation as he bids to add to his first cap earned against the Czech Republic last night.

The QPR man made his first appearance for the national team in a match which saw the Scots use an unusual 4-6-0 system with no strikers.

As a result, in-form Rangers forward Kenny Miller was left on the bench for the clash in Prague and the approach failed to pay off when Roman Hubnik grabbed the only goal of the game after 69 minutes.

"I would have loved a result for my first cap but it hasn't turned out that way and I'm very disappointed with the result in the end," said Mackie. "I was delighted to get my first cap and I would have played in any role for the country. The players are there to do a job."



Progress 'tough' for Wales

Wales' hopes of qualifying for Euro 2012 seem all but over after a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Bulgaria last night.

Brian Flynn suffered defeat in his first match as caretaker manager as Ivelin Popov struck the only goal of the Group G qualifier at the Cardiff City Stadium.

After two losses in as many games, and tough tests to come in Switzerland on Tuesday and against England next March, Welsh chances are in tatters.

"I would say our hopes of qualifying have been severely damaged," said Flynn, whose side also had Nottingham Forest player Chris Gunter sent off.

"It is going to be tough now, but we will train first thing in the morning and prepare the players for Switzerland."

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