Belfast Telegraph

Holtz has Luxembourg primed to deliver goods

By Laure James

Luxembourg manager Luc Holtz has his team fired up and prepared for any challenge that Northern Ireland may have up their sleeves.

Tonight's World Cup qualifier at the Stade Josy Barthel has been branded locally as Luxembourg's greatest opportunity for three points in the whole campaign.

Holtz, who worked in a post office before taking his coaching badges, is confident he can use a home advantage to improve on Luxembourg's 1-1- draw at Windsor Park, in September 2012.

"Our goal is to win this game," he said.

"We know that Northern Ireland has a good team. The proof is that they caused many problems in Portugal, but this is no reason for us to play defensively."

Luxembourg, who are expected to give fitness tests to defender Tom Laterza and midfielder Lars Gerson, are most wary of Huddersfield Town striker Martin Paterson.

Holtz continued: "Unfortunately both Laterza and Gerson are still doubtful, although I hope they will recover.

"I think Paterson is a very strong player. With a guy like him, they can win a real battle. Tactically-speaking, I do not think they will change a lot."

Holtz has shaped his squad around 4-4-2 to produce a more attacking, yet stable approach, something which has pleased both his employers and the supporters.

There will be changes to the side that was defeated 4-1 by Russia as midfielder Mario Mutsch and defender Eric Hoffman both return from suspension, but also to reward promising 20-year old striker, Dave Turpel, with a starting position.

Hoffmann said: "Northern Ireland are far from finished in this group and still have a lot of energy.

"The fact that (Kyle) Lafferty is suspended plays no part. The players almost always have a similar level of energy in each game they play and in many ways, Northern Ireland still have the status as favourites. We want to prove that we can keep our level we showed the last few games."

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