Burnley-born Northern Ireland international Oliver Norwood is looking to Sunday’s friendly with Qatar as an opportunity to build momentum for their huge Euro 2016 qualifier with Romania next month.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who has featured 42 times for Reading in the Championship this term, has only missed 11 minutes of his nation’s spectacular campaign to date.
There’s a really good feel about the place at the minute!Oliver Norwood
Norwood was replaced by Wigan striker Billy McKay in the 79th minute of a 2-1 victory over Hungary at the Groupama Arena in Budapest in September.
He has since played in victories over the Faroe Islands, Greece and Finland as well as the defeat to leaders Romania in Bucharest.
Michael O’Neill’s Green and White Army face the 2022 World Cup hosts at Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty Road in two day’s time which kicks off at 5 p.m.
Norwood is hopeful that the exhibition match will provide the perfect preparation for their clash against the Group F leaders next month, with just a single point separating the sides ahead of the game at Windsor Park, Belfast, on June 13th.
“I haven’t kicked a football for three weeks but that won’t affect me,” he said. “I’ll just pick up where I left off. It’s not about that because you don’t really see a football in pre-season anyway. I’m in great condition for these games coming up and I feel like I’m ready to go.
“We need a couple of games before the big one in June. I’m not really too bothered who we play against because it’s just about getting that match fitness back in to your legs and that match sharpness so that we’re ready for June 13th.”
Norwood added: “We finished the Finland game and we just wanted the next game to come because we were on such a high.
“We’ve had to wait over two months between the games but all the lads are excited about getting back in the camp.
“There’s a really good feel about the place at the minute. We’ve got momentum building and we want to take that in to the game in June.”