Last week they were ensuring Northern Ireland beat San Marino 4-0 at Windsor Park. Over the weekend though Nigel Worthington’s men had mixed fortunes.
Maik Taylor (Birmingham City): May have been a virtual spectator against San Marino but had a slightly busier afternoon at Burnley as Birmingham dropped points in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor. It was only the seventh goal that Taylor has conceded in 11 matches for his club this season.
Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town): After playing at right-back for Northern Ireland in midweek, McAuley reverted to his more accustomed centre-back role as Jim Magilton’s side claimed a late point at home to Swansea City.
George McCartney (Sunderland): One of only three of the Northern Ireland squad to start a Premiership game at the weekend. McCartney followed up his excellent performance on Wednesday with another solid defensive display in the goalless draw with Fulham.
Chris Baird (Fulham): Despite another confident performance for Northern Ireland at centre-half the Rasharkin man continues to be on the substitute’s bench for Fulham and failed to get a run-out in the goalless draw at home to Sunderland.
Aaron Hughes (Fulham): Unlike Baird, Hughes has been a regular performer for Roy Hodgson’s outfit this term and produced another reliable display at the heart of the London club’s defence.
Michael O’Connor (Crewe Alexandra): O’Connor seems to get better with each game.
Now a permanent member of the Crewe midfield he was his usual industrious self as the League One side drew 2-2 at home with MK Dons.
Keith Gillespie (Sheffield United): The enigmatic winger, who won his 85th cap for his country on Wednesday, is still in dispute with his club after a fall-out with Blades boss Kevin Blackwell, so he obviously did not feature in the Sheffield derby yesterday.
Steve Davis (Rangers): Unfortunately had a weekend off as Rangers game with Dundee United was postponed due to the death of United Chairman Eddie Thompson.
Kyle Lafferty (Rangers): As above.
Following his excellent performances for Northern Ireland he could have been in contention for a starting role against Dundee United.
David Healy (Sunderland): On the bench again as Sunderland travelled to Healy’s former stamping ground at Cottage Road. Black Cat boss Roy Keane threw him into the fray with 21 minutes left but he failed to shine against his former team-mates.
Grant McCann (Scunthorpe United): McCann played the entire 90 minutes as Scunthorpe United beat his former club Cheltenham 2-1. Provided the pass for United’s opening goal and was booked for the fourth time this season after 59 minutes.
Ryan McGivern (Manchester City): Although Manchester City do not play against Newcastle United until tonight, it is unlikely the 18-year-old will feature. However it cannot be long before the talented left-back from Newry makes his first team debut.
Martin Paterson (Burnley): The 21 year-old, who made only a fleeting appearance against San Marino, may have failed to add to the seven goals he has scored this term but he did provide the cross from which Chris McCann headed Burnley’s 25th minute opener against Birmingham. Was substituted in the 65th minute.