NI door open to duo - O'Neill
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says he will continue to select Rangers duo Andy Little and Dean Shiels.
Last Updated: 15/08/12 5:44pm
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill says he will continue to select Rangers duo Andy Little and Dean Shiels - if they can prove their international credentials in the fourth tier of Scottish football.
The Ibrox pair look set to play in Wednesday's friendly against Finland after being named in O'Neill's squad for the Windsor Park clash.
But O'Neill has faced a series of questions about the suitability of Little and Shiels to the rigours of a 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, with troubled Rangers playing in the Third Division after demotion from the top-flight.
The manager, who reassured both players about their international futures before they committed to Rangers, is happy for the pair to be involved against Finland.
But O'Neill added he will continue to monitor the situation as the season unfolds.
He said: "Everyone asks: 'Will the level they're playing at prepare them to play internationals?' Well, the reality is they've only played a couple of games so we're not really able to assess that at this minute in time.
"We will be able to assess that throughout the season, but certainly both players have looked very sharp.
"Rangers are playing at a lower level competitively but the standard they prepare at will still be the same as they did previously.
"I don't see it as a huge issue but it's something we'll monitor over time and for future squads."
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland fans will pay tribute to former captain Alan McDonald before Wednesday's match.
Ex-QPR defender McDonald, who won 52 caps, died in June aged 48. His son and brother will lead the sides out at Windsor Park ahead of a minute's applause before kick-off.