OPINION: Is it time for Northern Ireland to go two up top?

Could Conor Washington grab a start on Saturday night? Pic: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

Could Conor Washington grab a start on Saturday night? Pic: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

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If ever there was a time to try an extra man up top, surely this is it.

There’s going to be a party at the opening of the National Stadium at Windsor Park on Saturday evening, but it will be far louder and longer if the players can get into their groove on the pitch.

This is a game against a team outside the top 200 in the FIFA World Rankings and with a population of little over 30,000.

We’re effectively playing Ballymena.

It’s time to bang in a few goals and give the fans something to celebrate - as if the sight of Big Jim McDonald and Jimmy Nesbitt in the same place at the same time isn’t enough to start some festivities.

Kyle Lafferty’s lack of first team football was clear for all to see during the 0-0 draw in the Czech Republic - brought off after 59 minutes, there were no arguments.

Unfortunately, Lafferty hasn’t enjoyed a single start for Norwich’s first team since, and so now he has to make way.

But rather than field just one forward, why not go for two?

Josh Magennis has made a bright start to his career at Charlton Athletic and Conor Washington more than merits another run-out. Who will forget his tireless display against Ukraine in France?

Both of those players have been on target for their clubs within the last two weeks - confidence is up.

With Magennis’ bustling nature and the bullish Washington beside him, they could over-power the San Marino defence.

That doesn’t mean we should forfeit pace down the wings, Ward and Dallas could complete a formidable four man attack, with the Premier League duo of Davis and McNair more than capable of dominating the central area.

That leaves Norwood as the odd one out. So we won’t pack the midfield. But surely this is the time to throw caution to the wind. Rather than thinking about grinding out a win, it’s in games like these that our boys are well capable of putting on a real show.

And so, its over to them. Give us a party, lads.