Monday 18 December 2017

Craigan concerned the Kerr factor could prove crucial for the Faroes in qualifying

Northern Ireland defender Stephen Craigan believes the Brian Kerr factor could give the Faroe Islands a lift when the teams meet tomorrow in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

The former Republic of Ireland boss saw his side suffer their fourth successive defeat in the campaign when they lost 5-1 to Slovenia.

That came on the night Northern Ireland made it four points on the board with a draw against 2006 world champions Italy.

However, Craigan claims it would be foolish to dismiss the Faroes as no-hopers.

He said: "With Brian Kerr

(pictured) in charge, it could give them more of an edge. He will know more about our players than we do about his and more about the system we are going to play.

"It will definitely help them. He will be trying to get one over us... south v north if you like.

"He has taken a big job on with the Faroes. All he has done is enhance his reputation. He had a tough time as Republic manager but he will want to bounce back and have the last laugh.

"In my time we have never had four points from the first two games in a qualifying campaign.

"We have to make sure we go and do all the hard work. We have to remember what got us those points."

Northern Ireland have kept two clean sheets in the campaign -- they beat Slovenia in their opening game -- and Craigan is a huge fan of 39-year-old goalkeeper Maik Taylor.

Taylor has played consistently well over the past two years for Northern Ireland despite losing his place at Birmingham to Joe Hart and then Ben Foster.

Craigan, 33, said: "I think when Maik goes I will have to go as I will be the oldest in the squad.

"He always challenges himself, irrespective of whether he is playing or not. At 39 if he keeps wanting to do well and wanting to improve it sets a wonderful example to the younger players in the squad."

Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart has returned home after failing to recover from a back spasm.

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