Northern Ireland's record scorer David Healy has been backed to rediscover his form and scoring touch today at Windsor Park. His country will go top of Group Three for a couple of hours at least, should they defeat Poland in their World Cup qualifier.
Healy remains crucial to Northern Ireland's hopes of making it to next year's finals in South Africa, even though he has found himself on the fringes at Sunderland.
The defender Aaron Hughes believes the striker will come good, having played alongside him at Fulham. He said: "David has been fine in training this week. Perhaps he has been a bit unlucky at Sunderland. Everyone in Northern Ireland knows what he is capable of. If we give him the right service and get balls into the box, he will find the net.
"He is a goalscorer, first and foremost – and we hope he will keep it going for us. I am sure he is looking forward to starting a game at this level again."
Northern Ireland are down on numbers – with George McCartney, Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty and Martin Paterson all absent. Warren Feeney, on loan at Dundee United from Cardiff City, is favourite to partner Healy up front against a side that made it to the finals in 2006. Hughes is convinced, however, his team can raise their game and get the result they need – with a home match against Slovenia to follow on Wednesday. He said: "It's a chance to stay in contention."
Northern Ireland (possible, 4-4-2): Taylor (Birmingham City); Craigan (Motherwell), Evans (Manchester United), Hughes (Fulham), McAuley (Ipswich Town); Johnson (Birmingham City), Clingan (Norwich City), McCann (Scunthorpe), Brunt (West Bromwich Albion); Healy (Sunderland), Feeney (Dundee United).
Poland (possible, 4-4-2): Boruc (Celtic); Wasilewski (Anderlecht), Zewlakow (Olympiakos), Wawrzyniak (Panathinaikos), Dudka (Auxerre); Guerreiro (Legia Warsaw), Lewandowski (Shakhtar Donetsk), Blaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund), Murawski (Lech Poznan); Smolarek (Bolton Wanderers); Jelen (Auxerre).
Referee: M Hansson (Swe)Reuse content