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Davis blow for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland will be aiming to continue their strong start to Euro 2016 qualifying when they travel to Romania on Friday.

Michael O'Neill's men are looking to reach their first major finals in 28 years and, w ith three wins out of three so far, they top Group F with a two-point advantage over the Romanians, who are also unbeaten.

However, O'Neill will be without captain Steven Davis after the Southampton player suffered a hamstring injury in the Premier League fixture against Leicester.

And fellow midfielder Niall McGinn has no doubt the inspirational skipper's absence will be felt.

''No-one does more than Davo." McGinn said. " He's our captain, he's definitely our leader on the pitch and he's done so well for us for a number of years.

''He came into the team hotel on Tuesday because he's been with his club having scans. He was just chilling and taking it easy, but there's no doubt he'll be hugely disappointed not to have made it.

''It's a massive miss for us but there are other players who come in and do a good job. He brings so much with his performances alone and he helps bring up everyone else around him to those standards.''

Romania will be led by their new coach Anghel Iordanescu, although he i s no stranger to the dressing room as he starts his third spell in charge of the national team.

Iordanescu replaces Victor Piturca, who resigned last month, and has vowed to go on the attack against Northern Ireland.

"We will play in the same system, 4-2-3-1, but what I want is to play in a much more offensive manner," Iordanescu said.

"I want to play closer to the opponents' goal. The match against Northern Ireland is an extremely important one. They have some players who can make the difference. They are a team who are very dangerous on the counter-attack."

Greece are in need of a win following two defeats and a draw from their first three games, which has left them fifth in the standings.

However, they are favourites to pick up the points on Friday at home to the Faroe Islands, who prop up the table.

Finland take on Hungary without suspended midfielder Alexander Ring.

The Nordic nation suffered their first defeat in the group to Romania last time out and lie level on four points with the Hungarians, who were narrow winners over the Faroe Islands.


From Belfast Telegraph