McAuley backs NI to score
Gareth McAuley is confident a striker shortage will not diminish Northern Ireland's capacity to score goals against the Faroes.
Last Updated: 09/08/11 9:44am
Gareth McAuley is confident a striker shortage will not diminish Northern Ireland's capacity to score goals against the Faroe Islands in Wednesday's Euro 2012 qualifier.
Northern Ireland must beat the Faroes to stay in the hunt for qualification, but Nigel Worthington's squad has been hit by a string of absences.
Chris Brunt is suspended and strikers Kyle Lafferty, Josh McQuoid and Martin Paterson are all injured, while James McClean rejected a call-up in favour of pledging his international future to the Republic of Ireland.
There are also questions marks over Warren Feeney's fitness, but defender McAuley was dismissive of the McClean issue, eager instead to focus on those who will be on duty at Windsor Park.
"To be honest, we are a group of players and we see it like this: if someone wants to play for us, great. If not, we're not interested," he said.
"That's our attitude and we're tight together. If someone has to think about playing for Northern Ireland then we aren't interested (in them).
"We wish them all the best with whatever they want to do, but I don't even think we should be talking about it.
"We have David Healy back in the squad, our record goalscorer, and he's looking sharp, looking fit.
"Hopefully he can score the goals. Peter Thompson has been scoring goals too and he's just come back in, so there's lots of potential there.
"And you can't forget Pat McCourt and what he can do. If he plays he's going to be important to us in unlocking what will probably be a stubborn defence."
Meanwhile, Steven Davis has backed Rangers team-mate Healy to regain the firepower that earned him 35 international goals - and a Uefa record of 13 in qualifying for Euro 2008.
"David's record speaks for itself. I have no doubt that he will get back to goalscoring form because he has so much quality," he said.
"Playing at Rangers with David, I see him every day in training and if he gets a chance, nine times out of 10 he will put it away.
"His record for Northern Ireland has been phenomenal and after a good pre-season he is raring to go.
"All the players know what he is capable of and hopefully if he is in the side against the Faroes he will get back to his goalscoring best."