Opportunity knocks for Huddersfield Town duo Ollie Norwood and Martin Paterson in Cyprus on Wednesday as Northern Ireland continue the countdown to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Midfielder Norwood is in line for a 15th cap and striker Paterson a 22nd in Nicosia.

The pair will be back for Saturday’s Championship trip to Doncaster, but will first hope for the chance to catch the eye of Irish boss Michael O’Neill.

They had a run-out at big-match venue the GSP Stadium via a Tuesday training session and O’Neill said: “This is a crucial trip.

“It’s not just about the match, but also about maximising the time we have together as a squad.”

O’Neill’s side have post-season friendlies in Uruguay, who are group rivals of England, and Chile as both South American sides get ready for the World Cup in Brazil.

 

The Euros are the focus for the Irish, who will face the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greece and Hungary and Romania in qualifiers between this September and October 2015.

Their qualification chances are boosted by the expansion of the Euro finals from 16 to 24 nations.

“The group maybe lacks the glamour of the World Cup campaign, which brought Portugal and Russia to Belfast,” said the boss.

“But we have the real prospect of doing well, and the increase to 24 teams provides a real incentive for us.”

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