Sunday 4 December 2016

Worthington mulling over out-of-sorts Healy's place

Jamie Holland

Published 11/10/2010 | 05:00

Nigel Worthington has promised he will not disregard David Healy even though the Sunderland striker is without a goal in two years for Northern Ireland.

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Healy missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy on Friday when he headed wide at the far post. The match finished 0-0 and Healy, who is having to content himself with reserve football at his club, faces an anxious wait to see if he is in the starting line-up to face the Faroe Islands tomorrow in Toftir.

He faces stiff competition from Rangers' Kyle Lafferty, who looked impressive when he stepped off the bench against the former world champions. Worthington was giving little away, though.

"I will give plenty of thought to my starting line-up and Kyle comes into those thoughts, but I haven't made a decision," said the Northern Ireland manager.

"With David, I have said I will support him but that does not mean he is always going to start."

The squad travel out today and Worthington's only fitness worry is defender Craig Cathcart, who missed the Italy match because of a back spasm.

Squad

Meanwhile, Wales travel to Basle to face Switzerland after their 1-0 loss to Bulgaria on Friday with a 22-man squad considerably different from the initial 24-man group named by Brian Flynn for the two games. Neal Eardley, Danny Gabbidon, Robert Earnshaw and Brian Stock all failed to report and Joe Allen and Ched Evans then pulled out after initial training. All were for injury reasons except for West Ham defender Gabbidon, who retired from international football. Joe Ledley is also out as his partner is expecting their first child.

Darcy Blake, Adam Matthews, Neil Taylor, Andrew Crofts and Ryan Doble joined the group. Hal Robson-Kanu was also forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury while defenders Chris Gunter and Sam Ricketts are suspended.

Elsewhere, Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston offered a defence of the 4-6-0 formation used by Craig Levein in Friday's defeat by the Czech Republic claiming it was a "great strategy" which may be repeated in the future. In a one-sided Euro 2012 qualifier in Prague, the visitors played without out-and-out strikers and eventually lost 1-0 to leave them with four points from three games ahead of the visit of world champions Spain tomorrow night.

Despite widespread criticism of the formation which continued over the weekend, Houston was unrepentant, saying: "You have a duty to try and get something points-wise for the country. I agreed with Craig, I felt it was the right way to go about it, to hit them on the counter-attack."

Irish Independent

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