Aus­trian striker seals Vi­enna win

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAR­REN FULLER­TON

NORTH­ERN IRE­LAND are fac­ing a strik­ing cri­sis af­ter Marko Ar­nau­tovic fired Aus­tria to vic­tory in Vi­enna last night.

Wi­gan for­ward Will Grigg, who hit the post with a late header, suf­fered a ham­string in­jury at the death.

Grigg, who hob­bled onto the team coach, joins Bur­ton Al­bion’s Liam Boyce, who picked up a prob­lem in train­ing, on the in­jured list.

With Kyle Laf­ferty and Conor Wash­ing­ton also out, Michael O’neill is left with two fit strik­ers – Josh Ma­gen­nis and Rother­ham’s Kyle Vas­sell who made his de­but in Vi­enna – ahead of Mon­day’s trip to Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina.

O’neill may have to turn to Ox­ford’s Gavin Whyte and

KYLE VAS­SELL has told Michael O’neill he’s ready to fill a goal scor­ing void against Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina af­ter mak­ing his de­but in Vi­enna.

With Will Grigg and Liam Boyce car­ry­ing in­juries and Kyle Laf­ferty and Conor Wash­ing­ton both ab­sent, O’neill is down to two fit strik­ers for Mon­day’s game in Sara­jevo.

Bolton front­man Josh Ma­gen­nis, who started last night, is likely to go again against the Bos­ni­ans, but Vas­sell is keen to back up last night’s short cameo at the Ernst Hap­pel Sta­dion.

The Rother­ham United for­ward said: “If I am called upon, then that’s what I’ll do. I’m here to train hard, work hard, and if I get a chance to play, great.

“The mood is one of frus­tra­tion, but we have to pick our­selves up and go again on Mon­day.”

Vas­sell, who qual­i­fies through a Lis­naskea-born grand­fa­ther, was in­un­dated with mes­sages af­ter earn­ing his first cap.

The 25-year-old, who was a late re­place­ment for Ge­orge Sav­ille, said: “On a per­sonal note, it’s a mile­stone in my ca­reer and I couldn’t be hap­pier.

“I was just warm­ing up and got the shout ‘get your kit on’, so it all came about very quickly. I’ve al­ready had all my mes­sages from my fam­ily say­ing they’re so proud.”

Vas­sell, a cousin of for­mer Eng­land winger Dar­ius Vas­sell, was close to scor­ing on his de­but when Will Grigg’s late header hit the post and ended up in the keeper’s arms.

“Be­ing a striker is about mar­gins,” he said. “If it had bounced out a bit more off the post I’d have got a goal tonight, but it didn’t.

“It’s all about be­ing in there and be­ing around chances. If it had come back out, I’d have flung my body at it but it went straight to the keeper.”

Vas­sell praised the 2,600-strong North­ern Ire­land sup­port who sang their way through last night’s de­feat which leaves O’neill’s men fac­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the pool.

“The North­ern Ire­land fans are ab­so­lutely amaz­ing,” he said. “They were bril­liant and they must be tired now – they didn’t shut up.”

Vas­sell ac­cepts North­ern Ire­land have a hill to climb in the group af­ter de­feats to Aus­tria and Bos­nia.

“We go a game at a time,” he said.

“The man­ager will tell us what he thinks we need to do on Mon­day.”

DE­FEAT Sav­ille, Vas­sell and Lewis

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