Alex Bruce has insisted his injury demons will not haunt him during Northern Ireland’s friendly against Malta on Wednesday as he attempts to revive his international career.
Since declaring for Northern Ireland in July 2011, after appearing for the Republic of Ireland at youth level, the Hull City defender has received two senior call-ups under manager Michael O’Neill but was forced to withdraw from both.
“Unfortunately the previous two times have been when I’ve had niggles,” the 28-year old said.
“They’re the only injuries I’ve had all season. I felt as if I let Michael down a little bit in that respect but obviously I’m looking forward to being involved in the game and for the games in the future.
“It was actually Nigel Worthington [O’Neill’s predecessor] who first spoke to me about being eligible for Northern Ireland because my granny’s from Bangor, and I thought it would be a great opportunity.
“Sadly Nigel then left the position, but I am happy Michael has taken the bull by the horns and seen it through for me.”
Bruce had to admit he turned over on his ankle during training on Monday morning, although he is determined to be fit, and in contention.
“I did go over, but fortunately it’s nothing. I would be really unlucky, otherwise!
“I’ve been to see the physio and we are working to ensure it won’t be left vulnerable.”
Wednesday’s match will be O’Neill’s eighth in charge, and the former Shamrock Rovers boss is still looking for his first win after three defeats and four draws. The high point was a 1-1 draw in Portugal in October’s World Cup qualifier, but O’Neill’s side have also had to settle for a point from home matches against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.