Blackpool’s Jordan Thompson is looking to make the most of his international call-up to Northern Ireland’s U21 team as he tries to force his way back into the senior side.
READ MORE: Terry McPhillips frustrated as Blackpool players fail to seize big chance
The midfielder is now away with his country for their double header, which begins with a trip to Iceland on Thursday. Northern Ireland then host Slovakia next Tuesday in their final qualifier for the U21 European Championships.
Their group is topped by Spain, who managed to qualify with three games to spare but lost to Northern Ireland in their latest game.
That left Northern Ireland as one of three teams, along with Slovakia and Iceland, who can still finish second and claim a play-off spot.
Northern Ireland are third in their group, a point behind Slovakia, adding extra significance to their encounter next week.
Thompson linked up with his national squad on Saturday night, after playing in Blackpool’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Rochdale.
“It’s two big games and I’m hoping I can be involved,” he said. “I missed out in the last round of fixtures due to suspension, so hopefully I can get back in and get a couple more games under my belt.”
Thompson admitted a key factor in his decision to join Blackpool in the summer was his desire for regular game-time to boost his chances of a recall to the Northern Ireland senior side.
The 21-year-old, who scored his first Blackpool goal on Saturday, won his first two senior caps against Panama and Costa Rica in May, having previously represented his country at various youth levels.
Thompson joined Blackpool after being released by Scottish giants Rangers, having had loan spells with Airdrieonians, Raith Rovers and Livingston.
He has established himself as a first-team regular at Bloomfield Road, making 13 appearances and producing a number of eye-catching performances.
Thompson added: “It’s been brilliant. I came down here to play games. The boys are doing well, so we’re just looking to push on now.”
Thompson’s midfield team-mate Jay Spearing claimed Pool’s player of the month award for September, having scored three goals in all competitions.
The 29-year-old also picked up the goal of the month gong for his strike in the Seasiders’ Carabao Cup win against QPR.