Northern Ireland striker Liam Boyce could give Michael O’Neill’s side the cutting edge they crave as they face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday night.
O’Neill is short of options in attack for the Nations League clash with Will Grigg having returned to Wigan with a hamstring injury, while Kyle Lafferty withdrew from the squad on the eve of the international window.
Boyce missed Friday’s 1-0 loss to Austria with a knee injury but could return to ease O’Neill’s problems.
“He trained this morning and came through it, and he’ll be training a little bit tonight,” O’Neill said.
“He’s fine and we hope obviously he’ll be available for selection.”
The striker shortage comes with NI looking to end a run of five away games without a goal - though O’Neill noted that run includes the friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica when he turned to younger players.
“We’re challenged a little bit at the moment with the striker situation.
“We’ve said all along that for a lot of our strikers this is a step up, they’re still getting used to international football and stepping up from League One or the Championship so there’s no great track record there.”
And O’Neill expects a tough game tonight with the first leg ending 2-1 to their rivals at Windsor Park.
“We will not have as much of the ball as we did in the first match.
“They are the home side and they will look back at the first game and want to play a bit better.
“They got out of jail a little bit in the first match but now they have lots to play for as a win would put them in a strong position in the group.”