Belfast Telegraph

We'll repay NI fans with win over Republic, vows Saville


George Saville
George Saville

By Paul Ferguson

Optimistic George Saville insists Northern Ireland players are determined to repay their loyal fans by beating the Republic of Ireland in next month's derby at the Aviva Stadium.

After Monday night's second loss in five weeks to Bosnia and Herzegovina, this time in Sarajevo, Northern Ireland have now gone seven games without a win in competitive action.

They are bottom of Group B3 of the Nations League with relegation to the third tier looming.

Michael O'Neill's men were cheered on by 2600 members of the Green and White Army in Friday night's 1-0 defeat by Austria in Vienna, and 800 travelled on to the Bosnian capital, giving incredible support before, during and after the games.

Saville says he has been blown away by the level of support and admits the players are now desperate to give the fans plenty to cheer about in Dublin on November 15.

"We owe the fans, especially in a game of that magnitude," admitted 25-year old Saville, who won his ninth international cap in Sarajevo.

"We need to win that football match. We owe the fans a lot. They were here in numbers again, singing all night, and even long after the final whistle, we could hear them from the changing room. They were absolutely brilliant.

"They really inspire us with all their support - it's mindblowing how supportive they are. They are fantastic, and we as a team appreciate every single one of them and how they support us home and away."

The match against Martin O'Neill's boys is billed as a friendly but winger Stuart Dallas is adamant the players will be taking the game as seriously as a competitive match.

"The Republic is a massive game for us. Everybody knows what it means so you can be sure that there'll be a top performance put on," said Leeds man Dallas.

Belfast Telegraph


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