Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington is promising to play fair with David Healy ahead of a critical phase for his side.
Healy failed to find the target for the sixth match running in the 1-1 draw against Israel at Windsor Park but Worthington believes it is only a matter of time before the striker improves his 35-goal tally for the province.
He said: "I am not going to disregard a player of David's quality. He is a prolific goalscorer for Northern Ireland. After him we haven't got one."
He added: "So because the lad is going through a lean time as all strikers do we have to encourage, support and help him.
"I would love to have seen him score but we have three huge games to come and we all know in that situation he likes to step up to the mark. What better time to get back on the trail?
"It is a case of the ball dropping for you and having that sharpness. To be fair to David, he looks better than he did towards the end of last season.
"He looked like his old self. He was very bright this week and seemed to enjoy his work."
Defender Jonny Evans missed the game with an ankle problem and Worthington revealed he had no hesitation in making the decision to allow him to return to Manchester United for treatment as they are due to face Birmingham on Sunday.
"There was no way I was going to risk him from our point of view," he said. "With him being in and around the first team, I wasn't going to risk him with Manchester United either.
"Jonny trained extremely well on Monday and Tuesday but woke up with a stiff ankle on the day of the game."
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