McAuley ready to 'shake the dust off'

GARETH McAuley is set to continue his return from injury on international duty with Northern Ireland against Germany on Thursday.

The 37-year-old is back in the squad after suffering an injury against Azerbaijan in June and missing the most recent double header against San Marino and Czech Republic.

'G-Mac' was also absent for the opening stages of the Baggies' Premier League campaign, making his return in the blue-and-white stripes for Albion's PL2 side in September.

An hour-long run-out for the first team against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup followed soon after. And with a clash against the World Champions ahead, Gareth admits he's not been able to ease himself back into action.

"I played an hour against Man City and will hopefully get picked to play against Germany.

"That's two games that aren't the easiest to come back to and shake the dust off!"

Michael O'Neill's side have already secured second position in World Cup Qualifying Group C and face top-of-the-table Germany in Belfast on Thursday.

They could pip the Germans to first place if results go their way, although automatic qualification seems unlikely. The Green and White Army need to beat Germany and Norway and hope Joachim Löw's men lose their final match against Azerbaijan in Kaiserslauten on Sunday.

A play-off position seems more realistic, but McAuley hasn't given up hope of the big prize just yet.

"We have seen Germany in close quarters at the Euros and in Hanover.

"A little bit of the two performances with the home crowd behind us and we can have a great night under the lights at Windsor."

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