Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v Hungary: Zoltan Gera excited at old pals act

By Rory Dollard

Hungary midfielder Zoltan Gera is aiming for bragging rights over some familiar faces when he lines up against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Gera played some of the best football of his career in England, and counted Chris Brunt, Chris Baird, Gareth McAuley and Aaron Hughes among his team-mates during spells with Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.

Three of those are likely to be in the starting line up, with Hughes among the substitutes, as Northern Ireland seek the victory that would seal passage to Euro 2016.

Gera, who now plays his club football back in his homeland with Ferencvaros, was injured when Michael O'Neill's men kicked off their Group F campaign with a 2-1 win at the Groupama Arena and is hoping to get one over his former colleagues in Belfast.

"When Northern Ireland were in Budapest I could not play, but I took some of them to a nice restaurant," said Gera, who is in line to win his 83rd cap.

"It is an advantage that I know some of them, I know how they want to play the game and can help with how we build up to the game.

"Gareth McAuley is a strong centre-back and scores a lot of headed goals, he's really dangerous and I don't really need to tell anyone that.

"Northern Ireland are doing very well and winning games. They are very strong from set-pieces and we will have to be ready for the corners and free-kicks.

"Chris Brunt and Chris Baird are also real quality players too. They all play at a very good level."

Belfast Telegraph