Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland coach Michael O' Neill seen during training ahead of their match against Wales at Cardiff City stadium on 23 March 2016 in Cardiff, United KingdomGetty

Wales host Northern Ireland in an international friendly at the Cardiff City stadium on Thursday, 24 March. Both teams have not made it into a major European tournament in many years but have made their way into the European Championships scheduled in France later this year.

Where to watch live

Kick-off is set for 7.45pm GMT. Live coverage of the game will be on BBC 2 in the UK.

Overview

Wales have had to go through a traumatic time before the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey helped them qualify for Euro 2016. Both players will be unavailable for the fixture against Northern Ireland, with Ramsey missing with a thigh injury he sustained against Hull City in the FA Cup and Bale having only returned from a calf problem.

Slovakia, England and Russia are the three teams that form Wales' group and manager Chris Coleman will be confident that his side has enough quality to progress out of this group in the very least. With Wales' marquee players out, it is a chance for the players on the fringes to prove their mettle and give themselves a fighting chance for selection.

Meanwhile, for Northern Ireland it has been a 30-year wait to feature in an international tournament, with their last participation coming in the 1986 World Cup. They were in a comparatively easy qualifying group alongside the likes of Romania, Hungary, Finland, Faroe Islands and Greece but topping the group is no mean feat, something manager Michael O'Neill will be trying to impress on his players.

They have lost only once in qualifying and come into the friendly on an eight-game unbeaten streak. It will be a good time for the manager to end his jinx with away friendlies, having failed to win a single game thus far.

What Managers Say

Chris Coleman: "[On Hodgson] I know Roy very well. He rarely changes tactically, he is a very thorough manager and coach and he believes in what he believes in. He will not change things against Holland, and they will not change how they play. If they were going to change formation drastically it would be something I would study but I don't think that is going to happen. We all know what England will bring to the Euros, I do not see that changing."

Michael O'Neill: "We know that when we go to France we're going to play against some very good teams and teams with some exceptional individual players which Gareth Bale is — Aaron Ramsey comes into that category too. It would have been good for our preparations to have to deal with that but equally the fact they are not playing sets us a different challenge. It's been difficult to give the players as much meaningful information as possible because of their absence. When you look at Wales over the qualifying campaign, you see how influential Gareth Bale was in terms of his number of goals and assists. Finding footage of Wales without Gareth Bale is quite difficult. We think we've given the best information we can."

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • Wales Win: 2.42
  • Draw: 3.15
  • Northern Ireland Win: 3.65

Team News

Wales

Possible XI: Hennessey; Gunter, A Williams, Chester, Davies, Taylor; J Williams, Allen, Ledley, Huws; Lawrence

Northern Ireland

Possible XI: McGovern; Cathcart, McAuley, McNair; McLaughlin, Evans, Dallas, Davis, Norwood; Ward, Lafferty