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Thursday 12 Oct 2023
U21s aiming for positive result against Azerbaijan

Northern Ireland U21s boss Tommy Wright is aiming to bag his first win of the UEFA Euro U21 2025 qualifiers against Azerbaijan this afternoon.

The two teams go head-to-head in Baku today (3pm UK time) and Wright is targeting three points after slender 1-0 defeats to Luxembourg and Ukraine last time around.   

Despite losing to Ukraine in the their last outing the experienced boss believes the performance his side delivered against strong opposition in Slovakia will stand his players in good stead at the Qarabag Stadium this afternoon.

“Azerbaijan played Serbia in the last round of games and we’ve had footage of them and we’ve been able to prepare so they aren’t an unknown proposition.

“We’ve prepared well and we’re looking forward to the game, ” Wright told @NorthernIreland.

It’s up to us to use the experienced players that we’ve got along with the younger ones and come up with a result

“Going back to the last two games, whilst we were disappointed with the results, the performance against Ukraine should give the players a lot of positivity going into this one because we played very well in that game and were unlucky to lose it.

“The travel to Baku has naturally taken up a chunk of the lead-in time and we’ve had to be careful with the players but we’ll be ready.”

West Ham striker Callum Marshall has been called up to the senior squad but Wright is able to call on Nottingham Forest defender Aaron Donnelly this time around.

“It’s good to get someone like Aaron in who has experienced what it’s like to in and around the senior team. 

“We do have a young group and if you look at the Azerbaijan team, they probably field a lot more players who just have this campaign to go while we’ve players who have this one and maybe another at this age group.

“It’s up to us to use the experienced players that we’ve got along with the younger ones and come up with a result.”

@NorthernIreland will have match updates, goals and reaction from today’s qualifier.