Maik Taylor is set to keep his place in goal for Northern Ireland's World Cup meeting with Denmark in Copenhagen tomorrow. Northern Ireland's manager, Sammy McIlroy, is expected to stick with Taylor despite Roy Carroll's high-profile move to Manchester United and his debut for the Premiership champions last Sunday. By contrast, Taylor has been demoted to second choice at Fulham following Edwin van der Sar's move from Juventus.
"I have it in my head who will play," McIlroy said. "Roy Carroll's had one game for Manchester United and, OK, Maik Taylor is not in the Fulham side because of Van der Sar, but Maik did a hell of a job for me in the Czech Republic."
The tug-of-war for the goalkeeper's jersey is the one area of true competition in the Irish side, whose hopes of reaching the 2002 finals are long gone. The rest of the team virtually picks itself as McIlroy, who has presided over a six-match losing run, must do without eight regulars for the game against the unbeaten Group Three leaders – Neil Lennon, Gerry Taggart and Steve Lomas among the most notable absentees.
The Ipswich midfielder Jim Magilton will be captain after missing the last two internationals to have a groin operation, while David Healy returns, having recovered from a hamstring injury.