Northern Ireland’s senior men’s futsal squad are off to Malta this weekend to play two games against the Maltese.
The international friendlies will help to boost preparations for the forthcoming Home Nations Championships, according to Northern Ireland Futsal Head Coach Jonathan Michael.
He said: “These games will be great preparation for the group as we look to the Home Nations Championships at the end of November and participation in the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers in early 2019.”
Both games are being staged at the National School Of Sports in Malta. The first match is on Friday (26 October) with an 18.30 start and the second takes place the following day at the same time.
Michael is excited about the composition of his squad going in to the upcoming matches.
He pointed out: “Our domestic season started again last month. Clubs have improved their squads and this has resulted in us being able to bring a number of new additions to the Northern Ireland set-up.
“Matthew McErlain comes into the squad after impressing with Belfast United in the UEFA Futsal Champions League during the summer. Darius Roohi has been in prolific scoring form for Sparta Belfast and I am excited about the strength that he will bring to the group.
“It is also pleasing to have Alex Lalor back after injury as his technical ability will enhance our attacking threat.”
Michael said the players and the backroom team are looking forward to playing against Malta, who are managed by Dutch coach Vic Hermans.
He added: “We go into these games with confidence after improved performances against Scotland in June and with a determination to demonstrate our further progression.”
The Northern Ireland futsal squad features:
Goalkeepers - Philip Irvine (Belfast United Futsal Club), Matthew McErlain (Belfast United Futsal Club);
Defenders - Adam Barr (FC Salisbury United), Scott Gunn (Newcastle Futsal Club), John Gibson (Banbridge Town Futsal Club), Ciaran Donaghy (Belfast United Futsal Club);
Wingers -Alex Lalor (Belfast United Futsal Club), Jack Magee (Belfast United Futsal Club), Craig Taylor (Banbridge Town Futsal Club), Jonathan Pierce (Belfast United Futsal Club), Danny Stapleton (Manchester Futsal Club), Jordan Wilson (Banbridge Town Futsal Club);
Forwards - Conor Glenholmes (Wattcell Futsal Club), Darius Roohi (Sparta Belfast Futsal Club).