Niall McGinn is hoping his Northern Ireland recall will help kick-start a season that has been ravaged by injury.
The tricky winger hasn’t played for his country since the friendly defeat away to Albania having picked up an injury in training with Celtic at the tail end of last season.
A broken metatarsal meant he missed the summer tour games against Turkey and Chile, the friendly defeat to Montenegro and the victory over Slovenia last month, as well as losing out on a full pre-season with the Hoops.
The former Dungannon Swifts and Derry City starlet is now fully fit, but an influx of signings at Celtic Park has hampered his return to the first team at club level and now McGinn desperately wants to get out on the pitch again for some competitive action.
And where better than at Windsor Park against Italy in a Euro 2012 qualifier or, at the very least, Tuesday’s second part of the double header, an away trip to the Faroe Islands.
“It’s been very frustrating,” he admitted.
“You want to try and get as many caps as you can and seeing the boys doing well (against Slovenia) was a bit disappointing in a way, but you pick up injuries through your career and you just have dust yourself down and get on with it.
“Now I am just looking forward to playing a part on Friday night and, hopefully, Tuesday night as well.
“I just want to get back as quickly as possible and get playing games again”, he added.
“It has been a bit disappointing not playing much at club level but there have been a lot of new faces coming in and it’s going to be hard for me to break back into the team again. But it’s just another challenge I am relishing.
“Hopefully the international games will help me as well in getting more game time.
“Whether I play from the start or come on as a sub on Friday or even Tuesday I will try and make as much of it as I can.
“Anytime I have come on at Windsor Park I have enjoyed it and the fans have been great as well. I just love playing at Windsor Park and I just have to make the most of any opportunity that I might get.”