Treat it as home - boss
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has urged his players not to be fazed by the home fans when they face Slovenia.
By Amanda Cornforth
Last Updated: 10/10/08 9:50pm
Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has urged his players not to be fazed by the home fans when they face Slovenia in Maribor on Saturday.
The renovated Ljudski VRT Stadium is sold out to its 12,262 capacity, meaning the Slovenian supporters will be in full voice.
The atmosphere will be similar to that of Windsor Park, albeit it be in favour of the opposition, and Worthington is hoping his men can turn it to their advantage with 1,200 travelling fans in the ground.
"I have told the players to treat the stadium like Windsor Park and focus on that scenario," he said.
"We will have 1,200 fans in a crowd of 12,000 and hopefully if they will make enough noise it will feel like a home match.
"If they can do that and we perform how we have done in training, then maybe get the rub of the green, we can get a good result.
"It will be fresh when the game kicks off (2045 local time) so we will have to run around and keep warm, which we are used to."
Uefa president Michel Platini will also be present at the game as he is in Slovenia for a Uefa Under-19 qualifying tournament where a pilot scheme involving an extra linesman is taking place.
Worthington hopes that he will bring good luck once again to Northern Ireland as the last time he attended a match they beat Georgia in a friendly earlier this year and after only claiming a point so far from two games it would be welcome.
David Healy has yet to get off the mark after scoring a record 13 goals in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign but Worthington is confident the striker will soon be rewarded for his hard work.
"David's mood has been first class," said Worthington. "We have done ample work with him this week as far as finishing is concerned and he has enjoyed that."