Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Nigel’s men struggle to prove their Worth across water

As the Northern Ireland football public reel from World Cup disappointment, it was back to business for Nigel Worthington’s troops at the weekend.

Unfortunately for most of them however, the weekend was spent watching football from the bench — and even the stand in the case of record goal-scorer David Healy.

With the loan window now open, expect a few moves in the coming days.

Maik Taylor (Birmingham City): The veteran netminder was an unused substitute as Birmingham City lost 1-0 at home in the Midlands derby to Aston Villa yesterday. However Joe Hart did not have the best of games between the posts for Alex McLeish’s side so a recall could be on the cards for the 38 year-old.

Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town): Was arguably Northern Ireland’s most consistent performer in the previous two Internationals. Back in favour at Ipswich though there was little joy for him on Saturday as they slumped to their fourth defeat in six league outings following a 3-1 reverse at Middlesbrough.

Jonny Evans (Manchester United): The return of Rio Ferdinand to the Manchester United back line after injury meant Evans was dropped to the bench by Alex Ferguson for the visit to Spurs at the weekend.

Stephen Craigan (Motherwell): After his efforts for his country over the past week it was probably no surprise that the 32 year-old was an unused substitute as Motherwell held Rangers to a goalless draw.

Aaron Hughes (Fulham): The skipper completed another steady 90 minutes as Fulham came back from a goal down to beat Everton 2-1 yesterday.

Grant McCann (Scunthorpe United): Scunthorpe recorded their first away victory in the Championship this term with a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace unfortunately McCann had to watch the entire match from the bench.

Damien Johnson (Birmingham City): Johnson was selected for the first team squad for the first time this season, though failed to see any action against Aston Villa.

Sammy Clingan (Coventry City): Played the entire 90 minutes on Saturday as Coventry were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bristol City.

Steven Davis (Rangers): He could not help prevent Walter Smith’s side dropping their first points of the season following a scoreless draw at Motherwell.

David Healy (Sunderland): For the second game in succession Healy failed to make Steve Bruce’s final panel of 18. The 30 year-old is in urgent need of a move away from the Stadium of Light if he is to cement a starting role in next month’s final qualifier in the Czech Republic.

Martin Paterson (Burnley): Paterson began in attack for Burnley in their trip to Anfield on Saturday. Had a chance as early as the first minute to open his account for the season, but was left to rue his miss as Liverpool ran out very comfortable 4-0 winners.

Chris Baird (Fulham): The Rasharkin man remained on the substitute’s bench throughout Fulham’s victory over Everton on Sunday. The full-back has played just 123 minutes of first team football this season.

Niall McGinn (Celtic): The former Dungannon Swifts winger finally made his first team debut for the Glasgow outfit when he started in the 1-1 draw at home to Dundee United.

Chris Brunt (WBA): Brunty returned to action with West Brom after missing their previous game through injury.

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