Trai Hume is confident Northern Ireland can get their Euro 2024 qualification campaign back on track over the next five days.
Michael O’Neill’s side have registered three points from their four matches in Qualifying Group H to date.
But Hume believes they can add another six points to that total by winning their upcoming away games against Slovenia and Kazakhstan – and that would put them firmly back in the qualification picture ahead of two home games next month.
The 21-year-old defender, who has started the season strongly with Sunderland in the EFL Championship, said: “The mood is still high. Obviously results recently haven’t gone our way but we still feel as a team that we can get something out of this group because it’s very wide open.
“There’s no-one really at the head and it’s all very even, so we obviously feel that if we can get two results, obviously two wins if we can, that will put us right back where we want to be.”
Hume also said the away qualifiers against Slovenia and Kazakhstan are “definitely winnable games”.
He pointed out Northern Ireland and Finland have the best defensive records in Group H but he admitted the team have not been at their best on the attacking front, either in taking chances or creating them for the strikers. “We can improve in both areas and if we get more goals then we can win more games,” he said.
Hume started the previous two qualifiers and said he is keen to start in both of the upcoming matches.
The defender further revealed he wants to play at a Euros and a World Cup finals with Northern Ireland, starting with next year’s European Championship finals in Germany.
Kazakhstan currently lie second in Group H on nine points thanks to three wins from four games. Slovenia are fourth with seven points and Northern Ireland are in fifth place.
The Group H qualifier against the Slovenians is being staged at the Stozice Stadion in Ljubljana tomorrow (Thursday 7 September; 19.45 BST), while the match against Kazakhstan is due to be played in the Astana Stadium in Astana on Sunday (10 September; 14.00 BST).