Northern Ireland vs Slovakia: Jonny Evans and Steven Davis will be key, according to Roy Carroll

Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Roy Carroll thinks the experience of players such as Jonny Evans and Steven Davis may prove decisive in Thursday’s huge Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia.

Corry Evans will miss out due to injury but his brother Jonny is expected to be fit for the winner-take-all clash – which is free-to-air on Sky Challenge.



Northern Ireland
Slovakia


And Carroll – who was in the squad that reached Euro 2016 – says the availability of players like Evans is a major plus for such a high-pressure occasion.

He told Sky Sports: “Jonny Evans is a leader in the team, he talks, he gives good information to the players around him.

“It is great to see Jonny back and hopefully he is 100 per cent ready to go on Thursday.

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“I think the likes of Jonny Evans and Steve Davis make a big difference.”

It will not be a full house at Windsor Park but a total of 1,060 supporters will be allocated socially distanced seats in the 18,500 capacity stadium.

Carroll added: “We only have just over 1,000 fans on Thursday, so it is going to be a difficult game, and I don’t think we have an advantage playing at home.

“You normally have 19,000 fans at Windsor Park singing – and you are going to miss that. But I think the players know what this game is all about

“It is a one-off game and I think every single one of those players will be ready for it.”

‘The 1,000 fans will make plenty of noise’

One of those players will be Middlesbrough’s Paddy McNair and he says the mood in the Northern Ireland camp is very upbeat.

“I just want it to be Thursday night already to be honest,” he said.

“Obviously Slovakia are a good team but, at the same time, so are we – and we definitely believe we can go and win on Thursday night.

“One game to get to the Euros, it’s an unbelievable opportunity. Four years ago we had a similar situation against Greece and we played so well on that night.

“If we could have a similar performance to that, it will definitely stand us in good stead.

“If I could choose, I would love there to be a full house, but obviously with the current situation that’s not possible.

“I’m sure the 1,000 there will make plenty of noise and I am really looking forward to it.”

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