Sanchez to stick with tried and trusted for Spain visit

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The Independent Online

The Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez said that he would not change his approach despite his side being jeered off the pitch last weekend after their3-0 defeat at home to Iceland in their opening Euro 2008 qualifying match.

Next up are Spain at Windsor Park tonight, but Sanchez was in bullish mood yesterday.

"I could go to plan Z, which I had only just thought about," he said. "But then we will end up in a situation where we will not win any games. We have to be consistent in our approach. The worst thing tomorrow is for us to go out and change things.

"I can try and shut up shop and go for a draw if that is what people want. But I know what the Northern Ireland fans are after is for their team to give everything they have got. It might be naïve but I go into every game trying to win."

Sanchez has stressed that he will stay loyal to his players, but that might not stop him tinkering with his side, and Michael Duff, Grant McCann and Kyle Lafferty could all come into contention.

Sanchez said: "The players have done well for me and Northern Ireland in two-and-a-half years. It has been a roller-coaster ride with some highs and it will continue. It will be strange if we bounce back against Spain but strange things happen in football."

The team captain, Aaron Hughes, looks set to retain his place in the team despite having six stitches inserted in a cut above his eye. He is back and training and has indicated to Sanchez that he is keen to play.

David Villa, meanwhile, looks in pole position to score Spain's 1,000th goal. The Valencia striker is in form after scoring twice at the weekend in the win against Liechtenstein.