Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is in good shape as Northern Ireland prepare to face Poland in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
That is the verdict of manager Nigel Worthington ahead of the Group Three clash at Chorzow's Slaski Stadium as Evans recovers from by an ankle problem which saw him miss the victory over Arsenal at the weekend.
Worthington said: "Jonny is an important player for us. I think he missed the game on Saturday though illness rather than injury. He has trained the last few days. He is bright and sharp and he's done the same work as everyone else."
There has been talk of a rift between United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Worthington over suggestions Evans may need surgery at some stage.
But Worthington has coveted close links with club managers and added: "There has never been any issue with Jonny. It came from different reports."
Northern Ireland can go top of the group should they win and Slovakia lose to the Czech Republic. Worthington is calling on his side to rise to the challenge and make it five successive victories in the qualifiers.
He said: "We have got to be solid and strong. We have got to have belief and make it happen. Everyone is looking in good fettle."
Goalkeeper Maik Taylor, who turns 38 on Friday, believes they cannot afford to lose any of their last three games.
"I think seven points from nine would almost guarantee us a place in the top two, " said the Birmingham shot-stopper.
"However we have to focus on each game as it comes and try to take as many points as we can from each fixture."
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