O'Neill to let McCourt loose on Faroes

By Rory Dollard

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill admits he may be ready to let "unique" Paddy McCourt loose on the Faroe Islands again.

McCourt has not played a competitive fixture for his country since a cameo from the bench against Israel last March and has only made one friendly appearance since then.

The fan favourite was not involved in the summer tour of South America and not considered for last month's opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Hungary having only recently signed for Brighton.

The feeling remains that O'Neill is a McCourt sceptic, willing to dispense with the winger's superb dribbling skills in favour of more disciplined performers.

But with the Faroes likely to be engaged in all-out defence at Windsor Park on Saturday, he is prepared to take the gamble.

McCourt's standout performance in a Northern Ireland shirt came when he tortured the islanders in a Euro 2012 qualifier at Belfast, scoring two wonderful goals and laying on another in a 4-0 win.

"Paddy has the ability to unlock the door and he gives us different options. He's unique in terms of what he brings to our squad," O'Neill said.