Corry Evans: NI hoping to build momentum going into Euro play-off semi-final in October

Corry Evans
Evans trained with his international team-mates for the first time in almost 10 months this week

Corry Evans says any momentum Northern Ireland can build going into next month's Euro 2021 play-off game against Bosnia-Herzegovina will be beneficial.

The midfielder is part of the NI squad which will face Romania and Norway in the Nations League in new manager Ian Baraclough's first games in charge.

"Any sort of momentum we can build will help us greatly going into that play-off tie," said the Blackburn player.

"These matches are good preparation, a good build-up for the Bosnia game."

"The manager wants to get off to a good start and these fixtures give him a chance to assess what he's got and how he wants to play," added Evans of Michael O'Neill's successor.

Northern Ireland begin their Nations League campaign against Romania in Bucharest on Friday, followed by a meeting with Norway in Belfast on Monday, both games taking place behind closed doors.

They face six more matches in two international windows during October and November, starting with the crucial play-off semi-final away to Bosnia on 8 October, the winners to face the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia for a place at next summer's rescheduled Euro finals.

Behind closed doors 'may benefit NI'

NI lost 2-0 on their last trip to Romania for a European Championship qualifying game in November 2014 but Evans playing in a stadium with no spectators could boost his side's chances.

"It may help us in Romania as the last time we went there it was quite a hostile environment so it might work in our favour," argued the 30-year-old.

Cathcart impressed with new Northern Ireland boss Baraclough

"It's always exciting when a new manager comes in - there's a bit of the unknown - but training has been enjoyable and he is getting across how he wants to play.

"There is not a huge difference in how we are doing things and we are enjoying being together again. It pretty much feels like any other international trip apart from the protocols around Covid-19.

"It's not an ideal time to be playing international games in the middle of your pre-season but while we may be at different levels of fitness we have all prepared as best we can individually for these games and we just have to get on with it."

Northern Ireland lost all four of their fixtures in the inaugural Nations League campaign and are playing their first fixtures since losing 6-1 to Germany in their last Euro qualifier almost 10 months ago.

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