Belfast Telegraph

Stand and deliver

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland star Gareth McAuley is relishing the prospect of playing at the new-look Windsor Park against Romania in Saturday's crucial Euro 2016 qualifier and is confident, even minus the famous Kop Stand, that the home fans will create a stunning atmosphere.

Victory for Northern Ireland at the weekend will move them to the top of Group F and virtually seal their place at next year's finals in France.

They will have to achieve it without the vociferous support from the Kop Stand, which has been demolished after cracks were found in its structure.

The 4000 fans who have been in the Kop for the first two home wins of the campaign will now be housed in other areas of the ground, including the impressive new East Stand which can accommodate 3000 fans.

With a sense of timing, on the same day as the IFA allowed the media access to see the new surroundings, McAuley said: "It will be strange without the Kop, but the stadium is looking brilliant at the moment. When I flew in to Belfast on Tuesday morning I could see it and I can't wait to play at the new-look stadium. Even without the Kop I'm sure our fans will get right behind us and lift us against Romania."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph