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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 16:51 UK

Worthington wants a sharp Healy

David Healy and Avi Strul
Healy battles with Avi Strul in Wednesday's friendly at Windsor Park

Nigel Worthington says David Healy and other Northern Ireland players out of favour at their clubs should do extra work for the World Cup clash in Poland.

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington is standing by his record scorer during Healy's current barren spell.

But he wants Healy - and others not playing regularly - to maintain an edge before the vital 5 September qualifier.

"I have told all the players who might be in that situation to do the extra bits and pieces themselves," he said.

"Even with that you are still not going to be as sharp as you would be playing every week. But it can certainly help.

"There are also a lot of club games coming up when they might have a chance but they have got to be focused on Poland."


Healy, 30, has not scored in six successive games for Northern Ireland and is stuck on 35 goals after failing to find the target in the 1-1 draw with Israel.

Worthington already has a team in mind for the September showdown in Chorzow.

The manager added: "I have as near as dammit the 11 that will start against Poland.

"The question mark would be who turns up on the Tuesday before the Poland game. We will have to wait and see.

"Certainly the quality of the training and the attitude of the players this week has been absolutely fantastic.

"If we can get that situation again pre-Poland I will be very happy.

We have blown the cobwebs away and can go to Poland and get a victory

Aaron Hughes

"It was a very professional display against an Israel side above us in the rankings."

Grant McCann registered his fourth goal for Northern Ireland when made the breakthrough with a free-kick, only for Elyaniv Barda to equalise for the visitors.

Skipper Aaron Hughes was heartened by the performance and believes Northern Ireland can end their dismal away record when the qualifiers resume.

"We have blown the cobwebs away and can go to Poland and get a victory," said the Fulham defender.

"The result against Israel wasn't the important thing. It was more important to recognise areas where we can improve. I think we did that.

"We can go to Poland with plenty of confidence.

"There's no reason why we cannot kick on. We have won our last four qualifiers and not lost tonight, which is always good."

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see also
Pick your N Ireland XI
27 Apr 09 |  Internationals
NI winger impresses Worthington
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
N Ireland 1-1 Israel
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Coates remains in N Ireland squad
03 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Italy 3-0 Northern Ireland
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Worthington praise for NI display
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals

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