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McCann wants win for the fans

Grant McCann has called for Northern Ireland to give the Windsor Park faithful something to sing about in Michael O'Neill's first match in charge for Wednesday's friendly against Norway.

O'Neill took over as national boss following Nigel Worthington's resignation at the end of a disappointing Euro 2012 qualifying campaign that included just one home win against the lowly Faroe Islands. Their run in friendlies has been even less impressive in recent years and Peterborough midfielder McCann wants his team to bring the smiles back to Belfast.

"To be fair to our fans they haven't had much to cheer about recently and we've lost our last four matches in a row, so we need to make sure we get the atmosphere back," he told Press Association Sport. "People say friendlies don't mean anything, but a bad result can stick in your mind a bit. If we can do well tomorrow that can be a real help."

He added: "I would say a good result is the main thing. If we can do it with a good performance then so be it, we'd like that, but we'll take it however we can. Our record in friendlies has been pretty terrible to be honest and we're hoping to put the record straight."

Worthington suffered frequent withdrawals from his player pool during his four-and-a-half-year stint in the job, particularly for friendlies, and O'Neill does not have a fully-fit squad to choose from this time either.

Kyle Lafferty and Chris Brunt have been on the sidelines with long-term injuries, while Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart (hamstring) and Plymouth striker Warren Feeney (calf) withdrew from the original 24-man party on Monday morning.

Despite that, McCann insists there are still 22 players desperate for the chance to earn a place under the new boss.

"He's a really positive manager and (assistant boss) Billy McKinlay is a really good coach too, so we're excited," he said.

"Everyone is just trying to impress to be honest. It's a little bit different and everyone just wants to do as much as they can to get in the team.

"We've had a little bit of time on free-kicks today so I'm hoping to have caught his eye."


From Belfast Telegraph