Huge season awaits Northern Ireland contingent across the water

Here we go again. The new season is just around the corner and while the Premier League and Irish League won’t kick off until next month, Scotland will start in July and the Football League in England will have plenty of players from Northern Ireland. Here I glanced at our boys for water.

SHANE LAVERY (Blackpool): The former Linfield striker had a brilliant first season at Blackpool. He scored a goal on his debut, becoming an immediate crowd favourite, and continued this form by becoming his club’s top scorer. Severe second album syndrome or something like that? If new boss Michael Appleton uses him like his predecessor Neil Critchley, expect the latter.

BAILE PEACOCK-FARREL (Burnley): There will be serious interest in Burnley this season as Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany takes over as boss and Nick Pope and Wayne Hennessy depart. Moor. If not, he will certainly want to move after being a regular on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season.

GAVIN WHITE (Cardiff): The former Crusaders favorite scored in pre-season for Cardiff and would like to do so when results really matter. He went on loan to Oxford last season, having previously been on loan at Hull. White will know whether he succeeds at Cardiff, now or never, as a move into the transfer window is possible.

CONOR FALLS AND BRODY SPENCER (Huddersfield): The teenage Spencer made his Northern Ireland debut during the ill-fated Nations League games late last season and there is every chance the 18-year-old will play for the Huddersfield first team in the weeks and months ahead. Falls may have to wait a little longer, but it’s clear that Town appreciated the young striker after handing him a new long-term contract.

Paddy McNair and Kaolan Boyd-Muns (Middlesbrough): The versatile McNair really should be playing in the Premier League. One of Northern Ireland’s latest frustrations is that this super player has been misused. For Boro, he will once again be crucial, while Boyd-Mance, who has just done a brilliant job and graduated with a 2-1 honors, is looking to earn more playing time on the field than in recent years.

GEORGE SAVELE (Millwall): Seems like in the blink of an eye, Saville hit the 40 cap mark for Northern Ireland, becoming a mainstay in Ian Baraclough’s team. He will aim to be the same for Millwall this season, although midfield competition at the club is fierce, so the 29-year-old will have to hit the ground running.

MICHAEL MACGOVERN (Norwich): Euro 2016 hero McGovern turned 38 earlier this month and it’s possible that, like at Norwich, he will be a substitute goalkeeper this season. It’s a tribute to his professionalism and popularity at the club because the Canarians still think the Enniskillen player has something to offer.

ALI MCCANN (Preston): Midfielder McCann is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest hopes for the future. He wasn’t the only player to have a tough time in Nations League games over the summer, although playing him in his best position could have helped. This is an important season for him in Preston. He has the opportunity to become a key figure for them.

CHARLIE OWENS (QPR): Former Northern Ireland under-21 international Owens has had an injury nightmare in recent years, but Michael Beal as his new head coach could be a midfielder’s dream scenario. Beal, who was number two behind Steven Gerrard at Rangers and Aston Villa, makes players better and Owens will enjoy working with him.

SHANE FERGUSON, CIARAN MCGAKIN and CONOR WASHINGTON (Rotherham): Ferguson has recovered from his injury at the start of the season and will be Rotherham’s Mister Reliable. As for Washington, this is another fresh start and a great opportunity for him to prove himself at the championship level. McGuckin is only 18 years old, but he could be one to watch if given the chance. There is something in the child.

JORDAN THOMPSON (Stoke): The midfielder needs a solid injury-free streak this season after being unlucky. He’s a great player and can be successful when he’s on the ball, but his Stoke career has been intermittent so far. Hopefully this will change as Thompson in full form will be of huge benefit to Northern Ireland.

DANIEL BALLARD, CORRY EVANS, TRAY HUME & CARL WINCHESTER (Sunderland): Alex Neil’s Sunderland side have always been interesting to watch in the league this season, but with a quartet of players from Northern Ireland, they are now even more interesting for the green and white army. Ballard has the qualities to be a big star at the Stadium of Light, this season could be Hume’s breakthrough season in England, Winchester will be as committed as ever and Evans has been named captain again for a new campaign. It would be fun to see the Black Cats fight for promotion to the Premier League.

CRAIG CATCART (Watford): Cathcart has been with Watford since 2014. During this time there were promotions and relegations, and so many coaches that even Hornets fans lost count. The seasoned defender, now 33, has been one of the club’s few consistent players. This time, he will once again be vital to them if they are to return.

JOSH MAGENNIS (Wigan): Like his international teammate Cathcart, Magennis has gone through periods of promotion and relegation in recent years. Wigan will likely be in the middle of the table this season, with the former Hull striker set to play quite a few games. The 31-year-old, who plays a big role off the pitch, has a lot to offer the club and the country.

MICHAEL O’NEIL (Stoke): Don’t forget there is one manager from Northern Ireland in the league. Stoke finished 14th last season and O’Neal is astute enough to know that this won’t help in 2022/23. He has a good working relationship with the owners, but he knows the Stoke fans will demand a promotion. Given the time, O’Neal has what it takes to deliver him, though his team needs to get off to a strong start or it will be hot.


In League One, the player from Northern Ireland who could take it by storm is Conor Bradley, who at Bolton Wanderers is on loan from Liverpool.

During pre-season he excelled for Bolton, pushing forward on the right flank, creating opportunities and forging a fruitful partnership with frontman Dion Charles that could be hugely beneficial for Northern Ireland.

It will also be interesting to see how Eoin Toal, who signed from Derry City this month, performs in Bolton. Elsewhere, Will Grigg returned to MK Dons. I wonder if it will light up again?

Others to watch include Liam Coyle and David Morgan (Accrington Stanley), Ewan Williams (Charlton Athletic), Barry Bagley, Dylan Boyle, Christopher Conn-Clark (on loan at Altrincham until January), Carl Johnston, Stephen McMullan and Paddy Layna (Fleetwood). ), Cameron Stewart (Ipswich), Ryan McLaughlin (Morecambe), Cyron Brown and Oisin Smith (Oxford United), Luke Southwood (Cheltenham Town on loan from Reading), Tom Flanagan (Shrewsbury Town”) and Conor Parsons (“Wycombe Wanderers”).

League One has three Northern Ireland managers, followed by Peterborough’s Grant McCann, Ipswich’s Kieran McKenna and Barnsley’s Michael Duff.

In League Two, Northern Ireland players to watch are Finn Cousin-Dawson (Bradford), Liam Ravenhill (Doncaster), Ben Reeves (Gillingham), Danny Amos (Grimsby), Stephen Dooley and Rory McArdle (Harrogate), Paul Smith. and Adam Thompson (Leyton Orient), Matthew Lund (Salford), Jamie Reed (Stevenage), Callum Camps and Rian Johnson (Stockport County).


Northern Ireland captain and Rangers hero Stephen Davies is entering his 19th season in professional football.

The Green and White Army will hope this is not his last. They would be happy if the legendary midfielder stayed forever.

Last season he didn’t play as much as he would like, but when he did, especially at the end of the campaign, he showed his class.

Davis is 37 years old but remains a key player at Ibrox thanks to his ability to dictate the rules of the game and keep possession of the ball. Young Northern Irish midfielder Charlie McCann will be watching and learning and should be in the first team for Glasgow this season.

On the other side of the Old Firm, young Ben Wylie would be happy to get that chance at Celtic at some stage. He has gone on loan to Airdrie and goalkeeper Conor Hazard is in a similar situation with HJK Helsinki.

When the Hearts play Kilmarnock there is likely to be a lot of Northern Ireland chatter with Liam Boyce and Michael Smith both sure to be in the Jam Tarts, possibly alongside teenage Mackenzie Kirk, Andy’s son, against Kyle Lafferty, Lee Hodson, Liam Donnelly. , Brad Lyons and Jordan Jones for Killie.

Elsewhere, Matthew Kennedy will be looking to become a top player at Aberdeen, Kyle McClelland at Hibs and Trevor Carson will have a big season at St Mirren under compatriot Stephen Robinson, now the only Northern Ireland manager in the Scottish premiership. league.