Taylor to face Danes?

Friday 31 August 2001

Maik Taylor is set to keep his place in goal for Northern Ireland's World Cup clash with Denmark on Saturday.

Sammy McIlroy is expected to stick with Taylor despite Roy Carroll's move to Manchester United and his debut for the Premiership champions on Sunday.

By contrast, Taylor has been demoted to second choice at Fulham following Holland international Edwin van der Sar's move from Juventus this summer.

McIlroy admits there is very little to choose between his two goalkeepers, but it is understood he will give Taylor the nod to face the Danes in the Parken Stadium.

McIlroy is keen to reward those players who do well for him and Taylor performed admirably when he replaced Carroll for Northern Ireland's final two games of last season against Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

McIlroy will announce his decision to the pair at training tomorrow morning and he admitted it had been a tough call.

"I have it in my head who will play," he said. "Roy Carroll's had one game for Manchester United and, okay, Maik Taylor is not in the Fulham side because of this new goalkeeper van der Sar, but Maik did a hell of a job for me in the Czech Republic.

"I've always said the two are very, very close and it always will be close.

"Since I've been in the job it's been a hard decision, but whoever I pick I don't worry about it.

"It's just a matter of who gets in there and takes their chance - it's as simple as that."