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Monday 15 Oct 2018
Ian Baraclough wants his team to put on a show for the home crowd

Ian Barclough's Under-21s will take on Slovakia in their final U21 EURO Qualifier at the National Stadium at Windsor Park. 

The gaffer revealed just how excited his squad are about playing on the biggest stage for a Northern Ireland team. 

He said: “I think you see this morning the enthusiasm, quite a few haven’t played here, I haven't even been here on the pitch and I think it makes it special. 

"It’s a shootout. Whoever wins the game comes second and then whatever will be will be in regards to the play-off place. We need to win the game. We’re a point behind Slovakia so we’ve got to win it.”

The Under-21s are currently one point behind Slovakia so will be desperate to come out on top on Tuesday night and secure second place.

Ian revealed: “We’ll try and play in their half and make them defend. There will be times when they get out, they’re a good team, good players technically.

"For me we’ve always been best when we’ve been on the front foot, when we’ve tried to take the game to the opposition and it’ll be no different.”

Ian believes that Northern Ireland fans will really have something to come down and cheer for with such an exciting crop of players. 

“There’s definite youthful exuberance, willingness to work hard for each other, we’ve got some good pace in the team, good organisation, you hope you can take all that on to the big arena. 

“This is exactly the stage we want them to be at, to find out a little bit more about them because it’s only one step away from Michael’s senior team.”

Northern Ireland Under-21s take on Slovakia on Tuesday 16 October in the National Stadium at Windsor Park, KO 7:30PM