Northern Ireland manger Nigel Worthington will have no reservations about turning to Jamie Ward to keep the World Cup dream alive on Saturday.
And after scoring only his second goal for Sheffield United last weekend, the uncapped Ward yesterday joined up with his new international colleagues full of confidence.
With Worthington’s striking options seriously reduced following injuries to both Martin Paterson and Kyle Lafferty — who were suspended for the game against Poland anyway — Ward is primed to make his international debut in what is a must-win game for Northern Ireland.
The more experienced Warren Feeney is the likely candidate to partner David Healy in attack, but Worthington is confident that Ward — who has played all his football in England’s lower leagues before joining the Blades in January — is ready for international football.
“We have lost two strikers which, given our numbers, makes things difficult, but I always say that when injuries occur it opens the door for other players and then it’s up to them to take their chance,” said Worthngton.
“The situation is what it is and now we have to make the best of what we have.
“I have spoken to the people at Sheffield United and they are very pleased with Jamie and impressed with his attitude.
“We will see where things are at this week, what the team will be and then what happens during the game on Saturday, but Jamie is in the squad because he has earned his place and there will be no problem in throwing him in if needed.”