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Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough

PA

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough must pick through the rubble of Northern Ireland's thrashing at the hands of Norway as they look to next month's Euro 2020 qualifying play-off against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As he assessed the damage from the 5-1 pounding at Windsor Park, Baraclough was forced to admit that Norway's ruthless strike force, led by two goals each for young sensation Erling Haaland and Alexander Sorloth, was too good for a makeshift Northern Ireland defence missing both Jonny Evans and Jamal Lewis.

But though he could comfort himself that Northern Ireland will not face an attack as potent as Norway's every time, he knows Edin Dzeko will be waiting for them when they head to Bosnia on October 8.

Echoes

"It's not the first home game I would have liked," Baraclough said after Northern Ireland's punishment was handed out amid the echoes of an empty Windsor Park.

"I would have liked the first home game to be full of fans with the atmosphere here that gets generated.

"We've come up against some strike force there, by the way. I think you'd have to pay £100m plus to get hold of Haaland, Sorloth scored 33 goals in Turkey and is rated very highly, and they bring Josh King off the bench as well.

"The difference at the two ends is massive. Clinical, ruthless, pace, power..."

The Bosnia game now looms large as Baraclough looks ahead to next month's triple header, with further Nations League games following against Austria and then Norway.