Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland coach Michael O' Neill during trainingGetty

Northern Ireland host Slovenia in the second of the double header International Friendlies scheduled for before the end of the domestic league season. Northern Ireland drew 1-1 with Wales in the first game and will be looking to put in a much better performance to give them some much needed confidence ahead of the finals in June.

Where to Watch Live

Kick-off is set 7:45pm BST. Live coverage of the game will be on BBC Two NI and live radio commentary will be available on BBC Radio Ulster.

Overview

Northern Ireland have a host of injuries to worry about, with Liam Boyce and Conor Washington both carrying knocks ahead of the friendly. However, Josh Magennis is back fit and is expected to feature in the game from the bench but may also be given a starting berth depending on his fitness.

Manager Michael O'Niell is likely to experiment with his side so as to give himself an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the various players in his team and prepare for the upcoming European Championships. He started with a 3-5-2 formation against Wales but is likely to move back to a back four for this fixture. Northern Ireland have a tough group to get out of in the Euros, with Germany, Poland and Ukraine line opposite them in the summer.

Slovenia are 26 places behind Wales in the Fifa rankings but have shown that they have the quality to dig deep against the giants in Europe. They have not qualified for the Euros, having finished third in their qualifying group, behind England and Switzerland. They won five, drew one and lost four of their 10 games in the qualifiers.

The duo have met each other twice in the recent past, with Northern Ireland coming on top by a solitary goal on one occasion while the other fixture ended in a draw.

What Managers Say

Michael O'Niell: "We were a little bit disappointed that maybe we didn't have more of an attacking threat with that (3-5-2) system. I think the two lads up front worked very hard. It's the first time they've played together and Kyle hasn't played much football. There are mitigating factors in that. There's always comfort as a coach and a manager when you say you're going to change to four. We threw Jonny in at left-back and he doesn't bad an eyelid and we played in the 4-3-3 and are able to deal with it. It's exactly what we want. In the summer we are going to have to be flexible. Either system has strengths or weaknesses depending on how the game's going. The most important thing between now and the end of the summer is the players are able to adapt and understand it very quickly. The game on Thursday night gave me a lot more confidence that that's the case."

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • Northern Ireland Win: 2.3
  • Draw: 3.1
  • Slovenia: 3.7