McAuley unfazed by striker shortage

09 August 2011 09:00

Gareth McAuley believes Northern Ireland have what it takes to overpower the Faroe Islands, despite a striker shortage exaggerated by James McClean's decision to reject Nigel Worthington's call-up.

Victory over the Faroes would keep Northern Ireland's Euro 2012 hopes alive but preparations have not been kind to Worthington, who has lost Chris Brunt to suspension and strikers Kyle Lafferty, Josh McQuoid and Martin Paterson to injury.

McClean snubbed the squad and declared his desire to play for the Republic of Ireland but McAuley said: "To be honest, we are a group of players and we see it like this: if someone wants to play for us, great. If not, we're not interested."

He added: "That's our attitude and we're tight together. If someone has to think about playing for Northern Ireland then we aren't interested (in them).

"We wish them all the best with whatever they want to do, but I don't even think we should be talking about it.

"We have David Healy back in the squad, our record goalscorer, and he's looking sharp, looking fit.

"Hopefully he can score the goals. Peter Thompson has been scoring goals too and he's just come back in, so there's lots of potential there.

"And you can't forget Pat McCourt and what he can do. If he plays he's going to be important to us in unlocking what will probably be a stubborn defence."

Source: PA