Northern Ireland will attempt to end a three-game losing streak when they face Slovenia on Thursday night (19.45) at the Stozice Stadium as part of their qualification campaign for Euro 2024.
Michael O’Neill’s return to the hotseat has not been the dream the Irish fans were hoping for after he famously led them to Euro 2016 qualification – they’ve suffered three consecutive 1-0 losses in qualifying and suffered due to multiple injuries.
Slovenia, meanwhile, find themselves fourth in the group on seven points, just two behind second-placed Kazakhstan, and have won three of their last four home games.
Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak will start between the sticks for Slovenia, while uncapped forward Aljosa Matko could be handed a debut on Thursday night.
Benjamin Sesko looks set to lead the line, and Vanja Drkusic will be hoping to earn his second cap for his country.
As for Northern Ireland, Steven Davis, Corry Evans and Stuart Dallas remain long-term absentees, while Josh Magennis and Connor Washington have also recently struggled with injuries but should be fit enough to feature here.
Shayne Lavery, Dale Taylor and Connor Bradley are all set to miss out on Thursday and Jonny Evans, fresh from his Manchester United return, will have a crucial role to play in the defence.
Slovenia to win to nil @ 7/4
Northern Ireland have endured a difficult start to Euro 2024 qualifying and life is unlikely to get any easier when they travel to Ljubljana to face a Slovenia side that have put in some decent performances so far.
Michael O’Neill’s side opened their Group H campaign with a routine win over whipping-boys San Marino but have since lost three successive games against Finland, Denmark and Kazakhstan, with all three matches ending 1-0.
In addition, Slovenia have won three of their last four home encounters, and the odd game out was a respectable 1-1 draw with Denmark. Scoring continues to be a problem for the visitors, so I’m backing the hosts to win to nil.
Benjamin Sesko to score anytime @ 15/8
The RB Leipzig striker has scored two in as many games in the Bundesliga this season, and will be looking to enhance his tally of six goals in 21 international appearances on Thursday.
Sesko was on the scoresheet against San Marino back in March, and will come into this international break full of confidence after his most recent outing saw him score a two-minute brace against Union Berlin.
I think he’s a decent bet to score anytime here.