Paterson starts for Northern Ireland

Burnley striker Martin Paterson has been drafted into the Northern Ireland starting line-up for their crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovakia at Windsor Park tonight.

Paterson, who has yet to score for the province, replaced Kyle Lafferty, who has returned to Rangers because of a knee injury after making the breakthrough in the draw with Poland at the weekend.

Paterson partnered David Healy up front in a match being billed as Northern Ireland’s biggest in 23 years, back to reaching the Mexico World Cup.

Victory tonight would see them overtake Slovakia as Group Three leaders with one game against the Czech Republic to come.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley, Craigan, Hughes, Evans, Johnson, McCann, Clingan, Davis, Paterson, Healy.

Subs: Tuffey, McGivern, Baird, McGinn, Ward, Brunt, Kee.

Slovakia: Mucha, Strba, Pekarik, Skrtel, Zabavnik, Durica, Weiss, Kopunek, Sestak, Stoch, Vittek.

Subs: Kamenar, Cech, Holosko, Jendrisek, Pecalka, Salata, Sapara.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (The Netherlands).

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