Northern Ireland’s international selection had one last chance to impress Michael O’Neill prior to the international break. The upcoming Nations League fixture against Bosnia will be followed by a friendly with Israel. Northern Ireland are expected to be competitive in their Nations League group while the subsequent friendly provides an excellent opportunity to look at some of the alternatives in the squad.
Boyce, Norwood and Cathcart among the goals
Liam Boyce continued his fine start to the season, bagging a goal and an assist in Burton Albion’s 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon. Sheffield United new boy Oliver Norwood also notched a goal and an assist in his side’s 4-1 victory against Aston Villa. Craig Cathcart was the unlikely hero at Vicarage Road as he headed in Watford’s winner against Tottenham.
Peacock-Farrell, Carson or McGovern?
The battle for the number one spot continues to be an intriguing one. Bailey Peacock-Farrell secured a clean sheet in Leeds’ 0-0 with Middlesbrough while Trevor Carson was present for Motherwell’s 3-1 win against Dundee. Michael McGovern was again an unused substitute for Norwich City.
Derbies, table toppers and a head-to-head
Kyle Lafferty and Jamal Lewis were involved in simultaneous derby matches on opposite sides of Hadrian’s Wall. Rangers’ Lafferty failed to impress in a 1-0 loss to Celtic in the Old Firm fixture. Jamal Lewis fared slightly better in a 1-1 draw with Ipswich for Norwich in the Old Farm match up.
Michael Smith helped Hearts maintain their 100% winning start to the season as they beat St Mirren to remain top of the Scottish Premiership. Josh Magennis was unable to add to his tally for the season but did pick up a booking in Bolton’s 2-2 draw with Preston. Corry Evans and Blackburn were on the receiving end of a 4-1 whipping from Bristol City.
Niall McGinn and Jordan Jones faced off in the only head to head of the weekend. Jones’ Kilmarnock side securing a 2-0 victory over McGinn and Aberdeen. Will Grigg managed an hour in Wigan’s 1-0 victory over Rotherham but did not set the place alight. Stuart Dallas made an appearance in stoppage time of Leeds’ match with Middlesbrough. Conor Washington made his debut for Sheffield United, seeing out the final 9 minutes of their match.
Could Gavin Whyte make his debut?
Gavin Whyte was a late addition to Michael O’Neill’s squad. The manager was unable to ignore Whyte’s excellent start to his career with Oxford United and drafted him in to join up with the rest of the panel for the second time. Whyte was a second half substitute in Oxford’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
Jonny Evans (Leicester City) and captain Steven Davis (Southampton) were again unused substitutes in their Premiership fixtures at the weekend. Conor McLaughlin (Millwall) and Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough) were also left on the bench for their matches. There was to be no place in the matchday squads for either Shane Ferguson (Millwall) or veteran Aaron Hughes (Hearts).
Deadline day moves played their part in the availability of some players. George Saville’s late loan move to Middlesbrough meant he played no part in the weekend just past. The same went for Jamie Ward who has gone on loan to Charlton Athletic until January. Finally, on Monday it was announced that Gareth McAuley had agreed terms on a move to Rangers – the long transfer saga finally drawn to a close.
Boyce can’t stop scoring!
— Burton Albion FC (@burtonalbionfc) September 2, 2018