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Ian Baraclough set to devise plan of action with Northern Ireland backroom staff



Hard work: New international boss Ian Baraclough

Hard work: New international boss Ian Baraclough

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Hard work: New international boss Ian Baraclough

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough will be heading to Scotland next week to consult with key personnel as preparations gather pace for a busy autumn schedule.

The Leicester man, who is based in England, will travel north to talk tactics and strategy.

Michael O'Neill's successor is planning to meet up with senior team assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl and coach Austin MacPhee as well as U17s and U19s manager Stephen Frail, who are all based in Scotland, while he is also hoping to chat to skipper Steven Davis.

Nations League opponents Romania, Norway and Austria will be analysed closely along with play-off opponents Bosnia-Herzegovina plus possible play-off final rivals Slovakia and Republic of Ireland.

"I have plenty to get my teeth into, however I'm relishing it," said Baraclough.

"We need to get back to winning ways after not registering a competitive win for a while, albeit we did come up against two of the heavyweights of world football (Germany and Netherlands) last autumn. The Nations League is very important in terms of ranking points towards the World Cup 2022 qualifiers, and the first two matches are important for preparation for the Bosnia game.

"The two matches in September are not a time to be experimental."

Just like Northern Ireland, Romania have elevated their U21s boss to the senior team manager role and Baraclough is looking forward to crossing swords with Mirel Radoi once again on September 4.

Back in the autumn when the two men were in charge of their respective U21 teams, Radoi's charges won 3-0 in Romania and drew 0-0 at Ballymena Showgrounds.

"Radoi preferred a 4-3-3 system when he managed Romania U21s so it will be interesting to see if he deploys the same system with the seniors," Baraclough added.

Belfast Telegraph