Lafferty may boost N. Ireland ranks

Lafferty may boost N. Ireland ranks

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty has indicated he may be fit to face Slovakia at Windsor Park tomorrow.

Lafferty appears to have made a quick recovery from the knee problem he suffered in the draw against Poland at the weekend.

The Rangers front man limped off after making the breakthrough at the Slaski Stadium with a superb goal in the first half.

Lafferty was a constant menace to the home side and his availability would be a major boost for the province.

Manager Nigel Worthington was so concerned he drafted 18-year-old Billy Kee into the squad.

But Lafferty told Sky Sports News: “It was a bit sore but it feels good now - I’ve trained on it.”

Northern Ireland would move into top spot in Group Three with a victory and Lafferty already has a vision of South Africa.

He said: “It will be brilliant if we do make it, for the squad, the coaching staff and the fans – who’ve been exceptional.

“Every player wants to play at the highest level for club and country...we are so close now.”

Meanwhile former defender Alan McDonald, who reached the World Cup himself in his playing days, believes it is a shame so few supporters will get to see such a vital game.

Windsor Park’s capacity has been trimmed over the years because of safety issues and there will less than 15,000 supporters in the ground.

However the Irish Football Association’s executive board has now agreed in principle to support the redevelopment of the ground as the new national stadium..

McDonald, who played for Northern Ireland in Mexico in 1986, said: “People are struggling to get a ticket for the game because there only a few available.

“We have this ongoing debate about a new stadium and it is probably costing the IFA a lot of money as there is great difficulty getting tickets.

“For matches like these you want as many supporters as you can. With the right stadium you would get 25-35,000 in just like we did against England. The atmosphere then was absolutely electric.”

McDonald insists it is a special atmosphere under the Windsor Park lights. He added: “We did not play too many international teams on a Saturday. We always used to play at the stadium on a weeknight.

“We tended to do better then than on Saturdays and hopeful that trend will continue with the current side.”

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