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Gareth McAuley: 'Euro 2016 qualification is within reach'

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley says that the team will remain focused as qualification for Euro 2016 edges closer.

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley has insisted that the team will be fully focused as qualification for Euro 2016 moves closer.

Michael O'Neill's side sit second in Group F and could secure a place in next summer's finals if they beat the Faroe Islands and Hungary in their forthcoming two qualifiers.

Northern Ireland, who have never qualified for the finals of the European Championships, made their last tournament appearance at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

"If we lose focus in any way, it can come back and bite you," McAuley told BBC Sport.

"We are close but there are enough experienced people in our dressing room who know how cruel football can be. We are not thinking any further ahead than the Faroes game.

"A few of us have been out there before and come back with a draw when we were expected to win so we are fully focused."

Northern Ireland face the Faroes on Friday evening before hosting Hungary three days later.

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill after the Euro 2016 Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands at Windsor Park on October 11, 2014
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