Jonny Evans expected to be fit for Northern Ireland playoff clash

Leicester defender took a knock in the defeat to West Ham but says he’s ready to play

Leicester City’s Jonny Evans in action against  Michail Antonio of West Ham United during Sunday’s  Premier League match  at The King Power Stadium. Photograph:  Nigel French/Getty Images

Leicester City’s Jonny Evans in action against Michail Antonio of West Ham United during Sunday’s Premier League match at The King Power Stadium. Photograph: Nigel French/Getty Images

 

Jonny Evans is expected to be fit for Northern Ireland’s crunch Euro 2020 qualifying playoff against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday, manager Ian Baraclough has said.

Evans took a knock in Leicester’s Premier League defeat to West Ham on Sunday, but Baraclough said he had reported to camp ready to play.

“He has reported last night [Sunday] and this morning to be okay,” Baraclough said. “Nothing to worry about.”

Evans, 32, missed both of Northern Ireland’s fixtures in September through a combination of personal reasons and injury, and did not play his first game of the season until Leicester’s 5-2 win over Manchester City a little over a week ago.

He was substituted in that match after his calf tightened up, but there had been no further concerns over his fitness until he took the knock in Sunday’s 3-0 home reverse to the Hammers, in which he played all 90 minutes.

Baraclough said there were “one or two bumps and bruises” within his 26-man squad for both the Bosnia trip and subsequent Nations League games against Austria and Norway, but that there were no major issues to worry about.

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis played only a limited role in Rangers’ 2-0 win over Ross County on Sunday, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute, meaning he is fresh as he stands to break Pat Jennings’s caps record on Thursday by making his 120th appearance.

“He does the things right leading up to a game. We’re fortunate that he took a rest on Sunday for Rangers,” Baraclough said. “It’s allowed him to have a really good run-up to the game and I expect him to lead the team out.”

Northern Ireland have spent months preparing for Thursday’s fixture, which was originally scheduled for March before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

The winner will face either the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia for a place in the rearranged Euro 2020 finals, offering Northern Ireland the chance of qualifying for a second European Championships in a row.

“There’s a definite focus on making sure we are in the final come next month to give ourselves a chance to get to the Euros,” Baraclough said. “Players want to be there.

“Players want to experience the feeling of being at a competition that is renowned worldwide now and being on the biggest stage, so there’s no bigger incentive.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.