Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Quick on the draw

Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez is hoping for glamour matches in this week's European Championship qualifying draw.



Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez is hoping for glamour matches in this week's European Championship qualifying draw.

Sanchez, along with IFA President Jim Boyce and Chief Executive Howard Wells, will travel to the Swiss city of Montreux for Friday's event.

And the former Wimbledon FA Cup hero is well aware of how the high profile games against England and Wales in the World Cup qualifying last year meant "full house" signs were put up at Windsor Park.

So he wants more of the same during the European qualifiers.

Sanchez says: "I would like a really positive draw on Friday.

"You only have to look back at the World Cup qualifiers to see how those big matches brought a fantastic reaction from both players and fans.

"I'll happily draw a couple of big teams. England, Wales and Republic of Ireland would be great."

Sanchez is in upbeat mood ahead of the draw but his hopes of bringing in players, born outside Northern Ireland but who hold a British passport has been dashed.

IFA chiefs have told Sanchez he can only select players who have a history with Northern Ireland.

Sanchez adds: "I must stick by the British agreement which says that you shouldn't approach a player unless he has family ties with that particular country.

"It's frustrating but my job is to manage the Northern Ireland international team and theirs is to make policy.

"I must continue to work with the players I have and I'm very happy to do that.

"I haven't been idle recently, I've gone to a number of games. Only last week I was at the QPR v Southampton match. I had hoped to watch Chris Baird but unfortunately he didn't play."

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