Brunt hails player bond
By Carla Hilton. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Chris Brunt believes it is the special bond between the players that has helped put Northern Ireland in with a chance of qualifying for a major tournament for the first time in 20 years.
The province played out an impressive 4-1 victory over Liechtenstein at the weekend and hope to continue that form into Wednesday's Euro qualifier with Sweden.
Should they win, they will not only end Sweden's 100 percent record but they will also move to the top of Group F.
The Sheffield Wednesday winger believes Northern Ireland are in a strong position with so many good players all competing for a starting role.
"We have a strong squad if you look at the bench and that can only be good for Northern Ireland," said Brunt.
"It is usually the same group of players as well.
"When you are away for 10 days at a time, like now, you get to know the rest of the boys quite well.
"We are a tight group and that all helps team spirit."
Brunt is hoping the atmosphere in Belfast will lift the players against Sweden, as it has against England and Spain who have both suffered shock defeats at Windsor Park in the past.
He added: "It will be hard for them coming to the ground as we have had a few big results here recently.
"Our fans are brilliant. They turned the Liechtenstein match into a home game.
"The atmosphere will be red hot and we cannot wait to get started."
Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg expects a tough game on Wednesday despite Sweden's unbeaten run in the Group so far.
Ljungberg told Arsenal's official website: "It is going to be a tough game at a high tempo.
"We have to stand up and be counted if they play a very physical game."