Steve Davis and Stuart Dallas target return for Northern Ireland ahead of Euro qualifiers

Northern Ireland's long term captain Captain Steve Davis and Leeds United star Stuart Dallas are both targeting a return for Northern Ireland during this year's European Championship qualifiers. 

The Northern Ireland stars were in camp last week in Belfast as the team prepared for their second Euro qualifier against Finland.

"It's essential they are part of the camp, we have a lot of young players in this squad and for them to see Steve and Stuart around the place is very beneficial," Michael O'Neill said of the pair.

Their arrival gave the players a lift in and around the hotel. New captain Craig Cathcart joked: "Davo called my skipper when he came in and I told him he's not allowed to call me that!"  

Dallas is targeting a return to the pitch as soon as possible after breaking his leg against Manchester City in the Premier League last April.

If all goes to plan he could be back for the next qualifiers in June against Denmark and Kazakhstan. 

"It's been a long process but I feel like I am getting there now," Dallas told me.

He and Davis were speaking at a meet and greet event in JD Sports in Belfast City Centre where they to sign autographs and pose for pictures with local football fans.

Davis isn't as far into his rehab after suffering a serious knee injury last December.

He went through surgery in January and is hoping to make a comeback later in the year. The 38 year old has said his motivation through these tough times is to play for Northern Ireland and Rangers again. 

"It can be frustrating when you don't see progress day in day out but I know it's all part of the process," he said.

Both players agree the reappointment of manager Michael O'Neill has been a huge positive for Northern Ireland and believe he can take them to another European Championship finals next year in Germany.

"We've only been about the place for a few days but there's a lot of positivity about and I'm excited to see what we can do in the rest of this campaign," Davis added.

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