Rangers midfielder Steve Davis believes Northern Ireland have enough good youngsters coming through to justify an optimistic outlook.
A makeshift side went down 1-0 to Albania in a friendly on Wednesday night following a superb free-kick from Ervin Skela in the 25th minute.
Davis said: "If there were any positives to take from that game then it was the performances of our young players. Andrew Little and Ryan McGivern were good and I thought Corry Evans did really well when he came on."
Nigel Worthington's side went close to equalising, Stephen Craigan twice seeing efforts coming back off the woodwork.
It was the introduction of Manchester United midfielder Evans that provided the spark in the second half.
He arrived in Albania on the day of the match after captaining the Under-21 side the previous evening when they defeated San Marino 3-0.
Worthington said: "It was a good honest performance in the second half, more like Northern Ireland.
"The reason that was the case was young Corry Evans. He came on in midfield and had energy. He wanted the ball and passed well. He was neat and tidy. These are the simple things that can help change games.
"I have a lot of time for Corry. I have worked with him the last two-and-a-half years. I have watched him closely and that was a typical Corry Evans performance.
"I must admit it was refreshing to have him here and see what he has achieved."