Rovers midfielder Corry Evans is one step closer to reaching the Euro 2020 finals after Northern Ireland held their nerve to see off Bosnia & Herzegovina in their play-off match.

Ian Baraclough’s men won through 4-3 on penalties, after the sides were locked at 1-1 after extra-time, and will now meet Slovakia in a winner takes all tie next month at Windsor Park.

Evans has time and again proved to be a man for the big occasion for Northern Ireland, given a specific role by Baraclough to patrol the right-hand side of midfield, also linking up well with the attacking instincts of Stuart Dallas.

These were Evans’ first minutes since Rovers' opening day defeat at Bournemouth where he came off the bench, having struggled with a bruised foot since.

But like his predecessor Michael O’Neill, Baraclough was eager to call on the 30-year-old's services for the national team as he won his 61st cap.

“We knew Bosnia were strong in many areas, it’s not just about (Edin) Dzeko and (Miralem) Pjanic, it’s the wide areas aswell,” Baraclough said.

“They played very well and made it difficult for us, but we looked at the team and felt we could put pressure on the defence by getting crosses in and playing down the sides.”

Tony Mowbray was happy to allow Evans to join up with his national team and felt some match minutes would also benefit Rovers upon his return given his lack of action.

Northern Ireland have two more Nations League matches to play, hosting Austria on Sunday and then travelling to Norway next Wednesday, leaving Evans likely to return to Rovers just a day before their next league fixture against Nottingham Forest on October 17.

Evans did train with Rovers in the week leading up to their last Championship fixture against Cardiff City but didn’t match the matchday squad.

That would have led to many managers pulling their player out of the international fold, but Mowbray opted to allow Evans to go on international duty, with Rovers able to keep a close eye on his fitness given Damien Johnson's dual role with the club and Northern Ireland.

Rovers face seven games in 21 days before the next international break which fall after the home match with QPR on November 7. Five days later is Northern Ireland’s crunch clash with Slovakia who beat Republic of Ireland on a penalty shoot-out.

This calendar year has been one to forget for Evans in terms of injuries, the 30-year-old managing just 196 minutes of football for Rovers having first needed surgery on a fractured eye socket and cheekbone picked up on January 11 against Preston.

His goalscoring return against Bristol City on the first game after lockdown was marred by a broken toe which saw him miss the remaining eight matches, while a bruised foot has seen him unable to feature post-Bournemouth.

All three have been impact injuries, rather than muscle problems which blighted him earlier in his Rovers career, and he is certaintly eyeing a change of luck on that front.

He played twice for Northern Ireland in September, with 77 minutes against Romania and 19 against Norway in Nations League matches, while his 73 against Bosnia & Herzegovina means he has played just 27 minutes fewer for his country than his club in 2020.

With Rovers facing a packed schedule, and already without midfield lynchpin Lewis Travis for the remainder of 2020, they will be keeping a close eye on Evans’ game-time in the remaining international matches.

“Hopefully on the back of the international back he’ll come back more ready for us,” Mowbray said before Evans went away.

With the focus for Northern Ireland, having already lost both of their opening Nations League matches, firmly on next month’s play-off, Rovers will hope to have a fully fit free Evans back for their upcoming matches, and the national team can return their favour.