Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Gillespie is homing in on away points

Keith Gillespie is calling on his Northern Ireland team mates to take their home form on the road ahead of three vitally important trips in the next eight weeks.

Games against Latvia, Iceland and Sweden will be pivotal in the battle to qualify for next summer's European Championship finals.

New manager Nigel Worthington picked up where Lawrie Sanchez left off by recording a 3-1 win at home to Liechtenstein to record a four successive home victory.

The only defeat of the current campaign came at Windsor Park, but Gillespie believes Denmark, who will be the final team to come to Belfast in November, won't relish their trip.

"We've done what we had to do at home since losing the first game against Iceland," he said.

" We're unbeaten away from home, so if we can keep that run going we'll be close.

"We feel that any team that comes to Windsor Park is going to be in for a real fight and we're confident that we can beat anybody at home."

Northern Ireland will head to Riga in two weeks time sitting second in Group F and six points from that game and the clash in Rejykavik four days later would play a big part in taking the country to the finals in Austria and Switzerland.

"It's a great achievement to be where we are now, especially after what happened in the first game," said Gillespie.

"We've two tough away games coming up and one more home game.

"There are four tough away games altogether and it is going to be difficult, but we're in there fighting.

" We did what we had to do against Liechtenstein, which was get three points. Now we can look forward to the next two games.

"Winning on Wednesday night was a big psychological boost for us and we know now that if we get two victories in the next two games we will still be in second at least."

"It is going to be really difficult though, Latvia and Iceland are both difficult places to go and teams get it hard there.

"I was in Latvia about 10 years ago and we won 1-0 so a repeat of that would be nice."

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