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Irish need to hit the net to avoid Nations League drop.

NORTHERN Ireland need to find a cutting edge away from home when they take on Bosnia and Herzegovina tonight facing the threat of relegation in the Nations League.

Friday's 1-0 loss to Austria made it five away games in a row in which Northern Ireland have failed to score.

Anything but a win will take the relegation battle out of Northern Ireland's hands, and that means finding a way of overcoming a Bosnia side who have lost just one of their last 11 competitive matches at home - a 4-3 loss to Belgium in World Cup qualifying.

"There's no magic formula," manager Michael O'Neill said. "We need someone to stick the ball in the net, it's as simple as that. We're challenged a little bit at the moment with the striker situation."

After Kyle Lafferty withdrew from the squad at the last minute, Liam Boyce missed the Austria game with a knee problem while Will Grigg suffered a hamstring injury after coming on as a substitute.

But Boyce returned to training on Sunday and could be involved to ease O'Neill's concerns, with Josh Magennis and Kyle Vassell the only other fit strikers.

There has been no shortage of chances for Northern Ireland of late. They created 34 in their two games against Bosnia and Austria but ended up with only one goal.

Captain Steven Davis said that has created a frustration in the squad he wants to take out on Bosnia on Monday.

"Being clinical at this level is the difference," the Southampton midfielder said. "Even (against Austria), although we didn't have as much control in the game, ultimately the best chance fell to me. If I'd have got that it would have put us in front and in a strong position."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EXBO
Date:Oct 15, 2018
Words:291
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