Baird wants Saints chance
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chris Baird is hoping to use NI's game with England to press his Southampton claims.Southampton full back Chris Baird is hoping to use Northern Ireland's game with England to press his claims at club level.
Baird is likely to start in defence for the Irish in Saturday's World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford, despite his lack of match action.
The 23-year-old has not featured for Saints this season and has made just eight appearances in total for the Premiership strugglers.
That is in contrast to the 13 caps he has picked up for his country and he is keen to use the game with England to push for greater inclusion at St Mary's.
He has yet to be selected by Saints boss Harry Redknapp and concedes it is strange to have played more for his country, than his club.
"Yes it's true," commented Baird. "If I play against England it will be my 14th cap but I have only been involved for Saints eight times.
"It certainly is a bit strange playing more for your country than your club and hopefully it will not be too long before I can turn that round."
Ahead of the game with England, Baird admits morale is high within the Northern Ireland squad but acknowledges the enormity of the task facing Lawrie Sanchez's side.
He added: "Ever since the draw was made the lads have been talking about this one and everyone is really excited.
"Of course it would be one of the all-time World Cup qualifying shocks.
"I am not so sure that we can relax and just go and enjoy it but we will give it our best shot."