Northern Ireland strike duo looking to stake their claim for starting spot against Azerbaijan

Will Grigg speaking to the media ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifying game against Azerbaijan 
Gareth McCullough

THE most famous player not to kick a ball at Euro 2016 is back in the Northern Ireland squad and eager to get back in action on Friday night.

The ‘Will Grigg’s on fire’ song was the terrace anthem of the summer yet the Wigan striker failed to make it onto the pitch for Michael O’Neill’s men in France.

Having missed the last round of qualifiers following the birth of his second child, he’s aiming to grasp the opportunity to make people remember him for his on-field exploits.

“I went to France as a footballer, not as anything else so to not play a minute was tough, it was really disappointing and it was a tough time,” Grigg admitted.

“I went there as part of the squad and you're not guaranteed to play and that's what happened.”

Grigg is now aiming for time on the pitch to do what he does best – scoring goals.

He added;“Every time you're in the squad there are chances. It's up to me to prove that in the short space in training.

"I feel I've been doing well in club level, not necessarily in the last four or five games when I've been in and out, it's been tough. Over the duration of the season I've been doing okay so if I get my chance I'm confident.”

Meanwhile, Grigg’s fellow striker Josh Magennis feels Friday night’s clash is a must-win.

“For the progression of Northern Ireland football and consistently go to tournaments and push on, then these are must win games. To prove we deserve to go to championships, we have to beat teams who come to our home pitch. We have to make it a fortress,” Magennis said.

“Azerbaijan are no different to any other team and we'll be looking to beat them. We won't be playing for a point, we're going into games saying we need the win.

“I don't think we can be underestimated.

“We've proven in the past if teams come here and think they'll turn us over at Windsor, we are capable of taking advantage of that. We're more than capable of beating any team. The Germans will be hard to beat, but we fully believe we can beat every one else.


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