Belfast Telegraph

Faroe Islands v Northern Ireland: We'll treat Faroes with the utmost respect, says Steven Davis

Euro 2016 qualifying Group F: Friday 4 September, 7.45pm, Torshavn

By Paul Ferguson

Steven Davis flew into the Faroe Islands yesterday dreaming of leading his country to the Euro finals in France next year.

The Southampton star has played a pivotal role in Northern Ireland's march towards their first ever appearance on Europe's biggest stage with imperious displays in the heart of midfield as Hungary, Greece, Finland and the Faroe Islands have all fallen to the men in green.

Tonight in Torshavn, Davis, capped 74 times, will need to be at his inspirational and brilliant best against a side who may be minnows but are on an incredible high following two stunning victories over Greece this campaign.

Captain Davis, 30, has been involved in too many embarrassing situations with Northern Ireland over the years, including a drab draw with the Faroes in Toftir five years ago, to treat Lars Olsen's men, now 75th in the Fifa world rankings, with anything other than respect.

"It's hard not to dream of reaching the finals, but at the same time there is a reality there that we're not good enough to take our eyes off the ball," admitted Davis ahead of training at the Torsvollur Stadium last night.

"You have to treat the Faroes on their own merit and they are coming into this game off the back of a good win over Greece. Like us, they will be going out to win the game. We want to get the three points and we're confident we can do that, but we're respectful of the Faroes.

"Therefore, we have to be fully focused on each and every game.

"Of course, it would be an unbelievable achievement to get there, but there's still a lot of hard work ahead. We've had a good week's training and everyone's upbeat, looking forward to the game against the Faroes.

"Hopefully we can get a good result. I played out here five years ago and it was a difficult night. We came away disappointed.

"Likewise for some of the other games during the last campaign when we struggled in the World Cup qualifiers. Hopefully we have learned from those experiences and we can show that on the pitch out here."

Having only arrived in the Faroes yesterday, Northern Ireland have managed to do the majority of their preparation for this key qualifier in the comfort of home surroundings.

Kyle Lafferty is fit, Jonny Evans is raring to go and Davis admits the players are determined to produce a performance in keeping with their displays so far in this campaign.

Surrounded by natural scenic beauty, breathtaking landscapes similar to the magnificent north Antrim coastline, Davis paints a picture of complete team unity - a side prepared to battle hard and make sure Euro aspirations stay afloat in the middle of the north Atlantic.

"We're on a good run at the minute and there's a good feeling amongst the team," said Davis. "At the same time, we're not underestimating the job that lies ahead. Most teams at international level are well organised - the Faroe Islands are no different.

"They commit players forward, it's something we need to be wary of. We're focused and not looking any further than getting a result against the Faroes."

Belfast Telegraph