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Monday 06 Feb 2023
NI Player Watch | McNair nets first goal of season

Paddy McNair scored his first goal of the campaign as Middlesbrough continued their push for automatic promotion from the EFL Championship with an impressive 3-0 home win over Blackpool at the weekend.

Boro, now under the stewardship of former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, remain in third place and 10 points behind Sheffield United, however McNair insists they still have ambitions of finishing in the top two.

“I don't know where we are in the form table but we're on a great run,” he told the club website. “We just need to keep that going and you never know."

Also on the scoresheet over the weekend was winger Niall McGinn who made it five in five games since joining Glentoran last month with a goal in the East Belfast side’s 3-0 Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup sixth round victory over Portadown at Shamrock Park.

In the Championship, Burnley goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell kept his fifth clean sheet in nine games this term as the league leaders extended their advantage at the top of the table to seven points with a well-earned 3-0 win at Norwich City.

Elsewhere in the division George Saville (Millwall), Shayne Lavery (Blackpool), Ali McCann (Preston NE), Craig Cathcart (Watford) and the Sunderland duo of Trai Hume and Daniel Ballard all started for their respective clubs at the weekend.

Meanwhile, defender Jonny Evans missed an 11th successive game for Leicester City because of a muscle injury, while Jamal Lewis was again an unused substitute as Newcastle United were held to a 1-1 Premier League draw at home to West Ham United.

In League One midfielder Paddy Lane made his debut for Portsmouth as a second half substitute in their 1-1 draw with Barnsley following his deadline day move to Fratton Park. Fellow under-21 international Charlie McCann also made his first appearance for Forest Green Rovers who fell to a two-goal defeat at home to Peterborough United.

There was good news for Chelsea defender Sam McClelland who had his first outing for loan club Barrow since October after overcoming a hernia problem. Also in League Two left-back Danny Amos popped up with an assist for Grimsby Town in their comfortable 3-0 success at Crewe.

After departing Liverpool last week, Rachel Furness came on for her Bristol City debut in their goalless draw at Blackburn Rovers in the Championship and former U19 international Brenna McPartland also made her first appearance for Sunderland who went down 3-1 at London City Lionesses.

Seventeen-year-old striker Rio Oudnie-Morgan took his goal tally for the season to 12 after scoring both goals in Ipswich Town’s surprise 2-0 FA Youth Cup victory over Liverpool last Friday night.

In the Lowland League, Charlie Lindsay was on target as Rangers ‘B’ beat Gala Fairydean 4-1 and MaKenzie Kirk made it a round 10 for the season as Hearts won 2-0 at Gretna.

Finally, 15-year-old goalkeeper Will Murdock, son of former Northern Ireland defender Colin, made his debut for the Manchester United youth team and also kept a clean sheet after coming on as a first half substitute in their U18 Premier League draw at Derby County.