Josh Magennis and Liam Boyce were both among the goals at the weekend ahead of Northern Ireland’s crucial EURO play-off final against Slovakia this Thursday.
Thirty-year-old Magennis scored his third goal of the campaign as Hull City beat fellow League One side Fleetwood Town 2-1 at home in the first round of this season’s FA Cup.
Meanwhile, Boyce also chalked up his third goal of the season in just his fourth appearance after flicking home the winner in Hearts’ 2-1 success over Inverness at Tynecastle.
“I expect Boycie to score a minimum of double figures,” declared Jambos’s boss Robbie Nielsen, “I’d like him to get up to 15 or 20 and I think he will.
“He is still getting up to speed though, like a number of the players, after such a long time off.”
On the injury front, Corry Evans has had to withdraw from the Northern Ireland panel after damaging his hamstring just five minutes into Blackburn Rovers Championship contest with QPR on Saturday.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray believes Evans, who has had a torrid time with injuries in 2020, could now be set for an extended period on the sidelines.
“We’ll get him scanned,” stated Mowbray, “He’s obviously upset because he’ll miss a big game for Northern Ireland. It doesn’t look a minor hamstring injury I’d have to say.”
In the Premier League, Jonny Evans returned to the Leicester City side after an absence of four games with a back injury, however, he went down late into the narrow 1-0 victory over Wolves after being struck by a powerful effort from Christian Fuchs.
“He was a bit blurred in his vision,” said Rodgers, whose side are now top of the Premier League. “Fuchsy (Christian Fuchs) took the shot from the corner that came out and he smashed it at goal and it hit him in the back of his head.
“So he’s a bit blurred in his vision. His back is obviously sore, but it was another colossal performance by him.”
Elsewhere in the top flight, Jamal Lewis and Stuart Dallas both played the full ninety minutes for Newcastle United and Leeds United respectively while Bailey Peacock-Farrell was again an unused substitute for Burnley.
In the Championship Northern Ireland under-21 international Caolan Boyd-Munce, made his first ever start for Birmingham City who went down 3-1 at home to AFC Bournemouth.
Jordan Thompson and Craig Cathcart both chalked up more game time with Stoke City and Watford, as did Paddy McNair with Middlesbrough.
Other Northern Ireland players on the scoresheet over the weekend were midfielder Matty Lund who took his tally for the season to six after scoring in Rochdale’s surprise 2-1 home defeat to National League outfit Stockport in the opening round of the FA Cup.
Striker Caolan Lavery hit a late consolation goal for Walsall who were knocked out of the competition after suffering a 2-1 home defeat to Bristol Rovers, while Portadown’s under-21 international Lee Bonis scored his second of the season as the mid-Ulster lost 2-1 at home to Linfield in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Finally, for the second month in a row Rachel Furness was named Liverpool Women’s player of the month after scoring two goals in three games for the club during October.
Speaking exclusively to irishfa.com she said: “On a personal note it’s always nice to be recognised by the fans and I am very grateful for the award.
“For me it’s the team around me that deserve the credit. I’m working with a fantastic squad week in week out.”