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WE'LL TRY TO KEEP IT CLEAN.

Byline: DARREN FULLERTON

SHANE FERGUSON says there's no reason why Northern Ireland can't take their positive defensive record into the second half of the World Cup campaign.

Michael O'Neill's men have kept seven clean sheets and conceded just 10 goals in their last 15 qualifiers dating back to the start of the Euro 2016 campaign.

In five outings so far this campaign, Northern Ireland have kept four clean sheets and conceded just two in a 2-0 defeat to Germany in Hannover in October.

Ahead of tonight's crucial World Cup qualifier in Baku, Ferguson said: "It's a great foundation for us and it's something we work really hard on in training.

"We always look back at footage of previous games to see where we can correct our mistakes and improve. That's credit to Michael and to the staff."

If they keep things tight at the back, Ferguson believes Northern Ireland are always capable of scoring, particularly from set piece delivery.

Three of the team's four goals in a 4-0 win over the Azeri in Belfast in November came from an Oliver Norwood corner, Chris Brunt free kick and a long throw-in.

Ferguson said: "When you have the likes of Chris and Oliver taking set pieces you are going to create a lot of chances for the likes of Gareth McAuley.

"We score a lot of goals from corners and free kicks. We work a lot on that and it's a good attacking weapon for us."

CAPTION(S):

PLAN OF ATTACK Ferguson sees set pieces as a key weapon

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 10, 2017
Words:257
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