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  • 15 November 2013
  • • 19:00
  • • 5 Ocak Stadyumu, Adana
  • Referee: B. Nijhuis
  • • Attendance: 14000

Turkey - Northern Ireland Preview: Michael O'Neill's squad hampered by injuries

Turkey - Northern Ireland Preview: Michael O'Neill's squad hampered by injuries

The manager recently penned a new two-year deal but hopes of securing only the second win of his tenure have been hit by the absence of the likes of Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley

Michael O'Neill's hopes of celebrating his new Northern Ireland deal with a win in Turkey have been hampered by the absence of key players.

O'Neill put pen to paper on a two-year extension last week, despite having masterminded only one win since taking charge of the national team in February 2012.

The Northern Irish Football Association backed the 44-year-old to lead them in their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 but first up is a friendly against a Turkey side who also failed to secure a place in next year's World Cup finals.

Experienced West Brom duo Chris Brunt and Gareth McAuley as well as Derby County forward Jamie Ward are among the absentees for the game in Adana on Friday night due to injuries, while Kyle Lafferty's wife is due to give birth.

Corry Evans, Craig Cathcart and Michael O'Connor are also ruled out, with Shane Ferguson (illness) a doubt.

O'Neill handed a first call-up to New York Red Bulls midfielder Jonny Steele, while Hibernian duo James McPake and Ryan McGivern were drafted in as late replacements.

The former Shamrock Rovers manager knows that his side will be up against it when they face Turkey but believes that the game will be a great experience for his young squad.

He told Sky Sports News: "Between now and the Euros starting we probably have a maximum of four games, starting with this one. Given the redevelopment of Windsor Park we're playing most of those games away from home, so this will be a very tough test.

"Turkey are a very good team and will be disappointed not to make Brazil, so it's a good game for us. The experience is of huge benefit to the younger players - and there are plenty in this squad."

Fenerbahce's teenage midfielder, Salih Ucan, was among several new faces in an experimental Turkey squad named by coach Fatih Terim. A defeat against the Netherlands cost his side a play-off place as they finished fourth in World Cup qualifying Group D.

Terim will use the friendlies against Northern Ireland and then Belarus - in Mersin on Tuesday - to give an opportunity to some new faces.

Akhisar Belediyespor midfielder Bilal Kisa was called up for the first time since 2006 but Nuri Sahin will not feature in either game after Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp asked for the midfielder to be given a rest.

Recep Kıvrak, Yusuf Erdogan, Mustafa Pektemek, Ertugrul Taskıran, Alper Potuk, Omer Toprak and Hakan Calhanoglu were all ruled out due to injury.

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