Premier League hitman Martin Paterson has vowed to rediscover his shooting boots just in time for Northern Ireland’s World Cup day of destiny.
After Saturday night’s heroic 1-1 draw with Poland in Chorzow, Nigel Worthington’s men stand on the brink of a play-off to book their passage through to South Africa.
Paterson, who has yet to score for Burnley since their promotion to the top flight, is likely to be handed a rare start against Slovakia on Wednesday night after Saturday’s goal-scorer, Kyle Lafferty injured his knee.
The former Stoke City and Scunthorpe striker fluffed his lines against the Poles when he had that chance to put the game beyond any doubt but you won’t find him wallowing in self-pity.
“As a striker you get spells when it just won’t go into the net for you and I am going through it at the moment,” said Paterson.
“But I will come good. I am a bit down at the moment because I think I’ve let the lads down a little bit by not scoring my chance.
“I was one verses one with Boruc and I tried to slide it past him but sometimes that’s how it goes.
“I was really disappointed after the game but I believe my luck will turn.
“There will be other opportunities that I don’t take and there will be similar chances when I do score. That is just how football is.
“It was a great result, even though I can’t help thinking it could have been even better.
“I think it says a lot that we are a little disappointed not to come away with a win. Every single player played their part and if we continue to perform to that level, we will get to where we want to be.”
Paterson will fight it out with Sheffield United’s Jamie Ward to replace Lafferty.
Skipper Aaron Hughes paid tribute to the Rangers striker who hobbled off after scoring his seventh international goal.
“That was as good a 45 minutes I have seen from big Kyle. He was terrific and took his goal really well.
“We knew we’d have to battle a bit but we came so close to getting a win.
“That just gives us more confidence and hopefully we can finish the job on Wednesday.”
“Of course we wanted two wins from the Poland and Slovakia games but four points would still give us a chance going into the last game.”