Massive game for Newcastle United international – 3 hours off first tournament finals
A massive night for Newcastle United’s Jamal Lewis, making only his 14th senior start for Northern Ireland tonight, if selected.
If Jamal Lewis and Northern Ireland overcome Bosnia and Herzegovina tonight, they then face an all or nothing final play-off against Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland on 12 November.
The winners of that final play-off would the be in the finals of the 2020 European Championships, now scheduled to take place in June and July 2021.
Jamal Lewis is looking forward to the novelty of playing in front of fans once again, though it will be limited to only 2,000 watching inside the stadium in Sarajevo tonight.
A win tonight would then see Newcastle’s Jamal Lewis potentially playing against either Martin Dubravka or Jeff Hendrick next month, depending on the result of that other play-off semi-final tonight in Bratislava, between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland. However, Martin Dubravka confirmed last week that he wouldn’t be fit in time for tonight’s match, though potentially could be fit for that final play-off match on 12 November if Slovakia win against Ireland.
Jamal Lewis speaking to The Irish News:
“I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now.
“We’re going in with a lot of confidence but knowing that we have to be clinical in both boxes, that will tip us over the edge to get the result we want.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go toe to toe against this side…I think we’re a team that’s best on the front foot, with everyone reading off the same page basically.
“When we’re pressing teams, suffocating them, being the aggressors, that will allow us to play our game, put our stamp on the game. That’s the message we’re getting from the manager.
“They obviously have some quality with Pjanic and Dzeko but overall we really do back ourselves to beat them, especially if we bring the intensity we know we can bring over 90 minutes. If we do that we can come out on top and do it quite convincingly.
“I am really looking forward to it. These are the types of games you want to play in at this level to showcase what you can do and be part of a successful group.
“Most of this group went to the last Euro finals. If I can be part of doing it this time it would be great. I was hoping we could be there this summer and with it being postponed I now have an eye on next summer with this team.
“It’s felt like a long time since I played in front of fans. I don’t really know what the effect of having a few thousand will be, whether it will be pointless or it would be an advantage.
“I’m one who enjoys playing away from home and I’m sure other boys do too. It just gives a general atmosphere, even though it may not be your fans, it gives you that extra adrenaline push.”
NEWCASTLE UNITED INTERNATIONALS – FULL SCHEDULE
Wednesday 7 October
Switzerland 1 Croatia 2
Fabian Schar played 76 minutes of this friendly and appeared to have no issues with his shoulder before being subbed late on. Schar the sixth Swiss substitution as they then face games against Spain on Saturday and Germany on Tuesday.
Thursday 8 October
Scotland v Israel (Ryan Fraser) European Championships play-offs
Slovakia v Republic of Ireland (Jeff Hendrick) European Championships play-off
Russia v Sweden (Emil Krafth) Friendly
Bosnia and Herzegovina v Northern Ireland (Jamal Lewis) European Championships play-off
Friday 9 October
Paraguay v Peru (Miguel Almiron) World Cup qualifier
Saturday 10 October
Spain v Switzerland (Fabian Schar) Nations League
Sunday 11 October
Scotland v Slovakia (Ryan Fraser) Nations League
Republic of Ireland v Wales (Jeff Hendrick) Nations League
Croatia v Sweden (Emil Krafth) Nations League
Northern Ireland v Austria (Jamal Lewis) Nations League
Tuesday 13 October
Germany v Switzerland (Fabian Schar) Nations League
Venezuela v Paraguay (Miguel Almiron) World Cup qualifier
Wednesday 14 October
Scotland v Czech Republic (Ryan Fraser) Nations League
Finland v Republic of Ireland (Jeff Hendrick) Nations League
Russia v Sweden (Emil Krafth) Friendly
Portugal v Sweden (Emil Krafth) Nations League
Norway v Northern Ireland (Jamal Lewis) Nations League
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