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Monday 10 Feb 2020
Plenty of minutes for Northern Ireland senior men internationals across the water | BATW

Northern Ireland under-21 International Caolan Boyd-Munce made his league debut on Friday evening when he came on as a late substitute in Birmingham City’s 3-1 win at Bristol City. 

The 20-year-old midfielder, who made his Irish League bow for Glentoran when aged just 16 years and 95 days, has played three times for the City first-team now this season and looks set to be in the squad again for Tuesday’s trip to strugglers Barnsley. 

Elsewhere in the Championship Paddy McNair and George Saville both played the full ninety minutes as Middlesbrough went down 3-2 at promotion chasing Brentford. 

Despite not having won in the league since New Year’s Day, midfielder Saville was still pleased with his side’s overall performance at Griffin Park. 

“It could have gone either way, at 2-2,” declared the 26-year-old. “We gave Brentford a sloppy goal for them to go 1-0 up. We came back into it but couldn’t get that third goal or hold on to get a point at least.

“However, we feel we are in a position to kick on now and performances like at Brentford will see results come our way.”

In League One, Kyle Lafferty came off the bench to set up Sunderland’s 81st minute winner against play-off rivals Ipswich Town at the Stadium of Light. 

Also in the Black Cats starting eleven was defender Tom Flanagan while Conor McLaughlin, like Lafferty, was introduced as a late substitute. 

Meanwhile, in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, striker Liam Boyce earned the penalty which saw Hearts beat League One Falkirk 1-0 to set up a quarter-final encounter with Rangers at Tynecastle.  

Boyce’s international colleague Conor Washington was also in the Hearts starting line-up as was full-back Michael Smith who returned to action after missing the last four matches with a thigh injury. 

On-loan defender Lee Hodson made his first start for St.Mirren in their draw with Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell, however, the occasion was marred when he had to leave the field nine minutes from time after picking up an injury.

“It looks like Lee has done his hamstring,” stated Saints boss Jim Goodwin, whose side has been beset by injuries recently. “We won't know the extent of it until it settles down and we send him for a scan. It never rains but it pours.”

Finally, under-21 International Shea Gordon made a welcome return to the Partick Thistle side that lost 2-0 at Dundee after being sidelined for the past three months with a variety of ligament complaints.