Northern Ireland will open their UEFA Nations League campaign and take a first step down the road towards Euro 2020 when they play host to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Michael O’Neill’s side suffered play-off heartache in their bid to reach World Cup 2018, with Switzerland edging them out.
They did, however, grace the European Championship finals in 2016, with a positive showing seeing them reach the last-16 stage.
Replicating those efforts is now the target, with Bosnia providing the first obstacle for them to overcome at Windsor Park on Saturday.
|Game||Northern Ireland vs Bosnia-Herzegovina|
|Date||Saturday, September 8|
|Time||2:00pm BST / 9:00am ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US) the game will be available to watch live on ESPNews and streamed online via ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
The game can be watched live on television in the United Kingdom (UK) via Sky Sports Football and can be streamed live online using Sky Go.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Northern Ireland squad|
|Goalkeepers||McGovern, Carson, Peacock-Farrell|
|Defenders||Cathcart, J. Evans, Hughes, McAuley, C. McLaughlin, McNair, Smith, Lewis|
|Midfielders||Davis, McGinn, Dallas, C. Evans, Ferguson, Saville, Jones, Norwood, Whyte|
|Forwards||Lafferty, Boyce, Magennis, Grigg, Washington, Ward|
Gavin Whyte has been promoted out of the U21 squad and into the senior ranks for the first time, with the Oxford United winger having netted three times in five outings at club level this season.
Gareth McAuley, who has linked up with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, is set to win his 80th cap while Steven Davis will skipper the side.
Potential Northern Ireland XI: McGovern; McLaughlin, Cathcart, McAuley, J. Evans; McNair, Davis, Norwood, Ferguson, Dallas; Lafferty.
|Goalkeepers||Sehic, Piric, Kjosevski|
|Defenders||Sunjic, Zukanovic, Todorovic, Civic, Vranjes, Bicakcic, Nastic|
|Midfielders||Pjanic, Visca, Besic, Duljevic, Cimirot, Prcic, Saric, Zakaric, Krunic, Milosevic|
|Forwards||Dzeko, Kodro, Bajic|
Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has been left out of the Bosnia squad, handing BB Erzurumspor shot-stopper Ibrahim Sehic an opportunity to impress between the sticks.
Juventus star Miralem Pjanic will look to pull the strings in midfield, helping to carve open opportunities for Roma striker – and his country’s all-time leading goalscorer – Edin Dzeko.
Potential Bosnia-Herzegovina XI: Sehic; Todorovic, Zukanovic, Sunjic, Civic; Cimirot, Besic; Visca, Pjanic, Duljevic; Dzeko.
Betting & Match Odds
There is little to choose between the two sides, with bet365 making Bosnia slight favourites at 7/4. Northern Ireland are priced at 21/10 to emerge victorious, with a draw available at 2/1.
Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina are competing in Group 3 within League B of the UEFA Nations League, with Austria set to provide their other opposition.
O’Neill’s side have not been in the best of form since seeing their World Cup dreams dashed, with their last two outings delivering no goals.
They were held to a goalless draw by Panama back in May before going down 3-0 to Costa Rica in June.
A notable 2-1 victory was secured over Asian Games gold medallists South Korea prior to the aforementioned outings, but struggles in the final third have offered cause for concern.
Another tight affair could be in store at Windsor Park, with Bosnia having conceded just twice in their last six fixtures.
Former Barcelona and Real Madrid star Robert Prosinecki is now at the helm, with the Croatian having inherited the reins on the back of a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign.
He has overseen two wins, three draws and one defeat to date, with that solitary reversal coming against Mexico in February.