Northern Ireland boss Tanya Oxtoby to miss Bosnia game due to illness


Tanya Oxtoby, Head Coach of Northern Ireland, looks on prior to the UEFA EURO 2025 Women's Qualifiers match between Northern Ireland and Malta at Windsor Park on April 05, 2024 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 

Northern Ireland manager Tanya Oxtoby will miss Tuesday’s Euro 2025 qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina due to illness.

The Australian coach is one of several members of the Northern Ireland camp that has been affected by a virus over the past week.

Oxtoby was unable to travel to Zenica, with first team coach Stuart McLaren now charged with managing the team in Bosnia.

Angela Platt, the Irish FA’s Director of Women’s Football, revealed: “The senior women’s group have had a small number of incidents of sickness – vomiting and diarrhoea - during the past week in camp, impacting a small number of staff and players.

“This has been managed by our medical team in camp to try to minimise any further impact across the squad and staff team. The steps taken included isolation of anyone symptomatic or who had potential contact with anyone symptomatic and also minimising any further contact through the staff and playing group.

“Unfortunately Tanya became very unwell on Saturday evening in Dublin before our travel to Bosnia on Sunday morning and the decision was taken for her to remain in Dublin and reassess how she was for potential to travel at a later time.

“She is still too unwell to travel at this stage and will not be leading the team against Bosnia tomorrow. The team will instead be led by Stuart McLaren.”

McLaren is best known for his stint as interim manager of the Scotland senior women’s team in 2021, when Oxtoby served as his assistant.

Prior to that McLaren managed Brisbane Strikers in Australia across two spells and he was assistant manager at North Queensland Fury.

Born in Glasgow, he returned to the UK in 2011 to become head coach at Loughborough University before being appointed manager of Stirling Albion in 2014.

During his player career, between 1994 and 2008, he was a central defender or central midfielder. His clubs included Wollongong Wolves, Stirling Albion, Brisbane Strikers, Queensland Roar and Perth Glory. He was capped by Australia at U20 level.

McLaren is being supported in Bosnia by the Irish FA’s Girls’ Elite Youth Academy Manager, Danielle McDowell Tuffey, and goalkeeping coach Roy Carroll.

Cliftonville midfielder Louise McDaniel has been called into the squad to replace Connie Scofield. Maddy Harvey-Clifford and Casey Howe are expected to return to the panel after missing Friday’s 0-0 draw with Malta through illness.

The second game in League B Group 3 of the Euro 2025 qualifiers will be played at the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Training Centre in Zenica at 2.30pm on Tuesday. No arrangement has yet been reached to broadcast the crucial qualifier, but discussions are ongoing.

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