Austria hoping to call up Burnley striker Ashley Barnes in 2019

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Austria coach Franco Foda is hopeful of adding Burnley striker Ashley Barnes to his squad in time for next year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Barnes, 29, qualifies for Austria through a grandmother and played for the country at Under-20 level back in 2008.

Austria looked into calling him up earlier in the year but were unable to do so as he did not hold an Austrian passport.

All the necessary paperwork has now been filed with the authorities and Foda is awaiting the go-ahead.

“Ashley Barnes is a very interesting player,” Foda said through a translator ahead of Sunday’s Nations League game against Northern Ireland.

“We’ve been in contact with him but we need to finalise some last things about this.

“We will see (about March). We need to see if it will work. We will see in March how it is going and decide then.”

Barnes, who has scored three goals in 17 appearances for Burnley this season, could add valuable depth in the striking department.

Though Marko Arnautovic has led the line in some style for Austria, his ongoing knee problems remain a concern.

Management of Arnautovic’s condition remains a day-to-day process, but Foda said the 29-year-old would be involved on Sunday in some form.

“He is almost ready,” Foda said. “He has a knee injury but he will be in the game.

“Definitely he will train today and then we will decide if it will be from the start.”

Austria’s 0-0 draw with group leaders Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday relegated Northern Ireland from League B of the competition and ensured Austria will remain in the second tier.

But Foda is not looking at Sunday’s game as a dead rubber as he targets a play-off place as one of the best second-placed teams.

“We want to finish well,” Foda said. “We will go out to win the game and get the points.”

Last month’s meeting between the two teams was closely matched, but ultimately settled by Arnautovic who took his chance when it came.

Foda expects a similar experience at Windsor Park, even if Northern Ireland no longer have anything to play for.

“In the game against Northern Ireland in Vienna we saw that the players were from the beginning really good, they play a good passing game and they are very aggressive,” Foda said.

“We need to prepare ourselves well and we will need to be at our best.”

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