Ross County’s Liam Boyce can be the difference for Northern Ireland

While they are still far from world beaters, the days of the Faroe Islands being cannon fodder for anyone and everyone are a thing of the past.

The archipelago nation once went on a run of 25 straight defeats, scoring 10 goals and conceding 80 around 10 years ago, but with three wins in their last six matches, could they cause Northern Ireland problems in Torshavn?

With Michael O’Neill’s side priced up as 8/13 favourites one would suggest they should have no problem brushing the Faroes aside.

In truth, they should fully justify their tag as jollies. The home nation have met defeat just once in this Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and have victories against Hungary and Finland to their name already.

Sat in second place in the group, victory here would all but guarantee at least a play-off spot and move them one step closer to reaching their first major tournament in 30 years.

Much could depend on their strikers, and one of them is showing far more in league football than the others.

Liam Boyce has been a major part of Ross County’s challenge for a top six finish in the Ladbrokes Premiership and progressing in the Scottish League Cup, netting five goals in his last four games for the Dingwall outfit.

Compare that to his compatriots and it suggests the Green and White Army could be relying on him on Friday night.

Between the five other strikers in the Northern Ireland squad, just two goals have been scored in 13 appearances between them this season, hardly encouraging reading.

Boyce is yet to get off the mark for his nation, having only played in four senior fixtures to date, but with others out of form and him flying on all cylinders it’s worth taking a chance on the 9/5 that he finds the net at any point in the match.

An away win is ultimately expected, but the Faroes are no mugs.

Aside from their recent victories, they have only been beaten by more than two goals on home soil six times in the past decade, including by the likes of France and Germany.

With all due respect to Northern Ireland, they are not France and Germany, and with just three away wins by more than a one goal margin in the past 15 years, the 9/4 that they win by a single strike could be exemplary value.

And with the man plying his trade in Scotland looking to break his international duck, don’t be surprised if he is the one that makes the difference.

Plus, check out Ladbrokes’ great offer for the big match – N.Ireland to win and both teams to score was 10/3, NOW 4/1!

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.