Northern Ireland will host Kosovo at Windsor Park on Saturday night in another round of their UEFA Nations League group stage campaign.
The Norn Iron have failed to impress in the Nations League so far. However, they came from behind to pick up a 2-2 draw against Cyprus in their last game, with former Manchester United duo Paddy McNair and Jonny Evans getting on the scoresheet in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Northern Ireland sit rock-bottom in their group with just two points picked up so far and will now be looking to earn their first win of the tournament this weekend.
Kosovo have had mixed results in the continental showpiece and have alternated between wins and losses. They were beaten 2-0 by group leaders Greece in their last game, conceding two second-half goals in an overall underwhelming display.
The visitors sit second in the group standings with six points from four games. Failure to win this weekend will end their promotion hopes.
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Head-to-Head
Saturday’s game will mark just the second meeting between Northern Ireland and Kosovo.
The first-ever matchup between the two nations came in the reverse meeting back in June, which the visitors won 3-2 via a Vedat Muriqi brace with a Zymer Bytyqi strike sandwiched in between.
Northern Ireland Form Guide (UEFA Nations League): D-L-D-L
Kosovo Form Guide (UEFA Nations League): L-W-L-W
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Team News
Sunderland’s Daniel Ballard is currently injured, hence his absence from the squad. Crystal Palace U21 defender Kofi Balmer is the only uncapped player in the side and will hope to make his international debut this month.
Injured: Daniel Ballard
Mërgim Vojvoda and Lille winger Edon Zhegrova are both out with injuries and will not feature for the visitors this weekend. Lirim R. Kastrati is out with a suspension and has been excluded from the squad.
Injured: Mërgim Vojvoda, Edon Zhegrova
Suspended: Lirim R. Kastrati
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Predicted XI
Northern Ireland Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Bailey Peacock-Farrell (GK); Ciaron Brown, Jonny Evans, Paddy McNair, Conor Bradley; Steven Davis, Corry Evans; Conor McMenamin, Shea Charles, Shayne Lavery; Kyle Lafferty
Kosovo Predicted XI (4-3-3): Arijanet Muric (GK); Donat Rrudhani, Mirlind Kryeziu, Amir Rrahmani, Fidan Aliti; Toni Domgjoni, Florent Hadergjonaj; Milot Rashica, Florent Muslija, Zymer Bytyqi; Vedat Muriqi
Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Prediction
The Norn Iron are on a five-game winless run across all competitions, failing to score any goals in three of those matches. They are winless in their last four games on home soil and could struggle here.
Kosovo have lost two of their last three games after going undefeated in their previous four across all competitions. They are in much better form than their weekend opponents and should come out on top here.
Prediction: Northern Ireland 1-0 Kosovo