Football

Johnson revelling in qualification battle

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Damien Johnson is savouring the moment as Northern Ireland build up a head of steam in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Birmingham midfielder, 30, has helped the team secure successive victories against San Marino and Poland following his comeback from a back operation.

Next up are Slovenia at Windsor Park on Wednesday, and said: "I am delighted to be back and thrilled we won in that manner on Saturday. I was very proud."

He added: "It has been a tough couple of years and to honest I did not expect anything from Northern Ireland.

"But (manager) Nigel Worthington has given me my chance and I am thrilled about that. He made sure we got in Poland's faces and it worked. Now we have to do the same against Slovenia."

Northern Ireland have played at least one more game than all of their rivals but Worthington is pleased with their progress.

"It is nice to have the points on the board. That is important, " he told Sky Sports.

"We know it is a tough group. The Czech Republic and Poland are strong teams and Slovenia and Slovakia are no mugs.

"It [qualification] would be a great achievement but we are a long way from that.

"We have got to go to Poland and we have to go Czech Republic. We have got Slovenia, which is our next game, and that is where our focus is at."

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Topics:
Football
Championship
Birmingham
Damien Johnson

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