Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland v Romania: No reason to back pedal now - Barry Hunter

By Stuart Mckinley

Barry Hunter is hoping that the Northern Ireland players are as brave as their manager as they lock horns with Romania.

Victory would put Michael O'Neill's men top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group with just four games to go and the fans would begin to make sure that their passports are valid for a trip to France next summer.

The fear among some supporters is that the daunting task of facing the team ranked 12th in the world could bring about a different approach than the one that has brought about four wins in the five qualifiers so far.

Former Northern Ireland defender Hunter believes there is no reason to change anything.

"Michael wants the team to play like he played and they are playing good football," said Hunter.

"They played good football in the last campaign and weren't getting results, but Michael has been brave enough to stick with it and now he's getting the reward.

"The association has been brave too, others would have pressed the button on him after the last campaign, but thankfully there are people there who can see the work he has done and what he is trying to do."

Hunter, now Liverpool's chief scout, has been helping O'Neill with background information on the opposition.

"I know bits and pieces about the Romanians on an individual basis," said Hunter.

"I spoke to Michael earlier in the week. He is very well prepared and there's nothing about Romania that he doesn't know."

Hunter has his own European adventure to complete today, on the final leg of a charity cycle from London to Amsterdam to raise funds for Prostate UK.

"I got a letter from Preston manager Simon Grayson inviting me to take part and I couldn't say no," said Hunter.

"It's for a great cause and you don't realise how many men are affected by it."

Donations to Barry Hunter's fund raising effort can be made by visiting:

Belfast Telegraph