Nigel Worthington has urged David Healy to deliver a message to Ricky Sbragia by getting back on the goal trail for Northern Ireland. Healy is an iconic figure in the province after scoring 35 goals for his country but he is yet win over his Sunderland boss.
Worthington feels the World Cup qualifiers against Poland on Saturday night and Slovenia on Wednesday are the ideal games for his star player to showcase his talents. He said: "David has a chance to put a marker down to his club manager as Sunderland have not been free-scoring.
"If he can get a couple of goals here maybe things might turn around for him between now and the end of the season." Healy has managed just one goal in the campaign for Northern Ireland after a record tally of 13 in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
Worthington said: "We have always known we could not just rely on David to get the goals."Other players have responded. Now we have to try and get David back on the scoresheet again."
Birmingham midfielder Damien Johnson will mark his 50th cap by captaining the side. Johnson, 30, made his comeback after a back operation in the summer with an impressive performance in the 3-0 victory against San Marino last month. Worthington believes the player's return to fitness is a huge boost for Northern Ireland
He said: "I am delighted for Damien as are all the players and staff he has reached his 50th cap.
"To make that he will captain the team. Damien is more than happy to accept the honour.
"He is a super pro, who has had a tough time with injury. He brings experience and a steadiness to the team and is a very good player. It is refreshing to have him in the group.
"He is a like a kid with a toy now and enjoying his football again. There is nothing more frustrating for a player than to be injured. Let's hope it is a special day for him and we get a good result."
Worthington is calling on the supporters to arrive early for the 5.15 kick-off and raise the roof. He said: "We want the crowd to get there early, so they get into a frenzy, in a nice way, before the game kicks off.
"I want the the players to feel the atmosphere right away when they come out for their warm-up,"I am very happy with the kick-off time as I know 3pm kick-offs are not a favourite in Northern Ireland. The Poles are a good team but we can get the three points, no mistake."