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England's training base is perfect for Northern Ireland ahead of Bosnia play-off, says IFA chief

 

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Big plans: Michael O’Neill will bring his side to Burton

Big plans: Michael O’Neill will bring his side to Burton

�INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porter

Big plans: Michael O’Neill will bring his side to Burton

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson believes St George's Park will be the perfect training base for Northern Ireland ahead of their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Bosnia and Herzegovina later this month.

The IFA have confirmed that manager Michael O'Neill has opted to use the FA's national training centre in Burton prior to travelling to Zenica for the crunch game, which is still due to be played on March 26 although Bosnia have requested a postponement.

The winners of the Northern Ireland versus Bosnia clash will host the victors of Slovakia against the Republic of Ireland on March 31. It has already been announced that the latter play-off semi-final will be played without spectators in attendance following a Slovak government decision.

Some have questioned whether the games will go ahead at all, though at the moment the IFA are planning for their match to take place, with O'Neill and his squad set to meet up in Staffordshire four days before they play in Bosnia.

St George's Park is home to England's 27 national teams and has 13 outdoor pitches, a full-size indoor 3G surface, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation suite and modern sports science areas, as well as top class hotel accommodation.

IFA chief executive Nelson said: "Following the Uefa Euro 2020 play-off draw in Switzerland back in November, we said we would be fully prepared for the play-offs, and St George's Park is the ideal location for Michael and the squad as they begin those preparations.

"Our target is to make it to Euro 2020 and I'm sure the facilities and the experience of being at St George's will help focus the players' minds on the ultimate goal."

Holly Murdoch, general manager at St George's Park, added: "We are delighted to host Northern Ireland at St George's Park as they prepare for their crucial fixture.

"As a world-leading high performance centre, St George's Park provides first class facilities to coaches and players, and Michael O'Neill and his squad will have full use of the venue's state-of-the-art amenities as they seek to reach a Euro 2020 play-off final."

Belfast Telegraph