Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Robinson's boys seeking win to make next phase

By Stuart McKinley

Stephen Robinson is challenging his Northern Ireland under-17 players to secure the victory that will seal progression to the Elite qualifying phase of the European Championships.

A win against Turkey this afternoon will clinch a place in the next stage of the competition next spring, but with all four teams in the group going into today's final round of matches with a chance of going through Robinson is well aware of how tough the task will be.

And the tight nature of the group means that he doesn't want to rely on the outcome of the meeting between Luxembourg and Latvia at Shamrock Park to nail down a top-two berth.

"Our destiny is in our own hands, which is exactly what you want at this stage of the competition," said Robinson.

"A win will guarantee that we go through and that's what we will be going for.

"A draw could be enough if the other game goes in our favour, but we don't want to be relying on someone else's result.

"We have to look after our own end of things, so we will be positive and we'll go for the win and if the quality of the performances so far can be repeated I would be confident that we can get the result that we need."

Northern Ireland bounced back from last Thursday's 1-0 defeat to Latvia with a stunning 3-1 victory over Luxembourg on Saturday evening, despite playing the second half with 10 men.

Stevenage youngster Ben Kennedy – the nephew of former international Peter – is now ruled out through suspension.

"I watched the Turkey game against Latvia on Saturday and they are a decent team," said Robinson.

"They have a lad up-front who is playing first team football at his club and he has scored in the Turkish league, so that's the quality that we are up against.

"We have quality of our own though and we aren't fearful of them.

"I know that if we play to our capabilities then we'll be in with a really good chance."

Belfast Telegraph


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