Northern Ireland host Kosovo at Windsor Park on Saturday night in another round of their UEFA Nations League group stage campaign.
The Norn Iron have failed to impress in the Nations League so far. However, they came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Cyprus in their last game, with former Manchester United duo Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans getting on the scoresheet in the final 20 minutes of the game .
Northern Ireland are bottom of their group with just two points collected so far and will now be looking to claim their first win of the tournament this weekend.
Kosovo had mixed results in the continental showpiece and alternated between wins and losses. They were beaten 2-0 by group leaders Greece in their last game, conceding two second-half goals in an overall disappointing performance.
The visitors sit second in the group standings with six points from four games. Not winning this weekend will end their promotion hopes.
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo head to head
Saturday’s match will mark only the second meeting between Northern Ireland and Kosovo.
The first-ever clash between the two nations came in the reverse encounter in June, which the visitors won 3-2 via a brace from Vedat Muriqi with a Zymer Bytyqi strike sandwiched in between.
Northern Ireland Form Guide (UEFA Nations League): DLDL
Kosovo form guide (UEFA Nations League): LWLW
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Team News
Sunderland’s Daniel Ballard is currently injured, hence his absence from the squad. Crystal Palace U21 defender Kofi Balmer is the team’s only uncapped player and is hoping to make his international debut this month.
injured: Daniel Ballard
Mërgim Vojvoda and Lille winger Edon Zhegrova are injured and will not play for the visitors this weekend. Lirim R. Kastrati is suspended and has been dropped from the squad.
injured: Mergim Vojvoda, Edon Zhegrova
Suspended: Lirim R. Kastrati
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Predicted XI
Northern Ireland Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Bailey Peacock-Farrell (GK); Ciaron Brown, Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair, Conor Bradley; Steven Davis, Corry Evans; Conor McMenamin, Shea Charles, Shayne Lavery; Kyle Laferty
Kosovo Predicted XI (4-3-3): Arijanet Muric (GK); Donat Rrudhani, Mirlind Kryeziu, Amir Rrahmani, Fidan Aliti; Toni Domgjoni, Florent Hadergjonaj; Milot Rashica, Florent Muslija, Zymer Bytyqi; Vedat Muriqi
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Prediction
The Norn Iron are on a five-game winless streak in all competitions, scoring zero goals in three of those games. They are winless in their last four home games and could struggle here.
Kosovo have lost two of their last three games after going unbeaten in their previous four in all competitions. They are in much better shape than their weekend opponents and should win here.
Prediction: Northern Ireland 1-0 Kosovo