Northern Ireland v Slovenia: Cathcart eyes international history in Euro warm-up


Craig Cathcart wants Northern Ireland to break new ground when they host Slovenia on Monday in their latest international friendly.

Michael O'Neill's side secured a respectable 1-1 draw against Wales on Thursday to extend their unbeaten run to nine matches in all competitions, equalling the feat set by Billy Bingham's side in 1986.

While they were disappointed not to claim a first away friendly win in almost a decade - Simon Church scored the equaliser from the penalty spot with just a minute of normal time remaining - the result means Northern Ireland can now go 10 games unbeaten for the first time should they achieve a positive result against Slovenia.

And Cathcart, who scored the opening goal in Cardiff, is keen to keep making history as his side continue their preparations for Euro 2016.

"Getting to the Euros was a great achievement and we've matched the record with the nine games," said the Watford defender. "We want to continue breaking those records.
"It will be no different going into the friendly against Slovenia, we want to put a on a show in front of our own fans."

Goalkeeper Michael McGovern is likewise keen to keep their run going in order to reach France with as much confidence as possible.

"Momentum in football is a really big thing, and luckily we've had that for a long time," he said. "We've got three more friendly games before the Euros and we'll be looking to go unbeaten in them."

O'Neill experimented with both a 5-3-2 and a 4-3-3 during the Wales draw and is expected to toy with his tactics again when Slovenia visit Windsor Park.

Josh Magennis and Liam Boyce are expected to recover from minor injuries to play a part, while O'Neill is expected to give both Kyle Lafferty and Conor Washington, who made his debut on Thursday, another chance to impress in attack.

Slovenia, who lost out to Ukraine in the play-offs for Euro 2016, defeated Macedonia 1-0 in a friendly on Wednesday thanks to a goal from Roman Bezjak.

That results means they have now lost just once in their last six outings, though their away form does not allow for a huge amount of optimism. 2-0 wins away to San Marino and Lithuania have punctuated a run of nine defeats with just three goals scored in 11 games on the road.