There is a secret points target that O'Neill's side are striving for each round, so will anything less than 10 heading into the summer be seen as a failure?
Despite starting in all four games at the European Championships, Cathcart has yet to...
The full-back is in the Ulster squad for their World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park, and Hodson reckons victory could be a major boost in their chase to qualify for next summer's tournament in Russian Federation. "I suppose that's all we need in terms of a motivating factor".
The challenge posed by Norway appears more hard than it did a few weeks ago, before the experienced Lars Lagerback took charge, Lagerback has previously guided Sweden to five successive major tournaments and led Iceland to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
Lagerback has previously guided Sweden to five successive major tournaments and led Iceland to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.
"We are not getting carried away, we have been in this position before with the Euros so we have the experience of dealing with these type of pressurised games", he said. I don't think the game will be decided because of anything tactical.
"I don't think we can worry about other teams - just concentrate on what we can control and that is ourselves", added Ward. The mood in the Irish players over-limit, the game is very important and the success it can give separation from Azerbaijan, who plays against the Germans, and retain parity with the Czechs, which is still home match. "The tactical side of it will not necessarily be the determining factor in the game".
O'Neill's options for the contest have been reduced by injuries.
Of the XI who O'Neill first picked against Norway, McAuley, Davis, Aaron Hughes, Jonny Evans and Corry Evans are in this squad, and Ferguson would have been too were he not suspended.
Then there is the ongoing issue surrounding Kyle Lafferty's fitness.
For Northern Ireland's Scandinavian visitors, the chances of reaching Russian Federation have now virtually disappeared already.
Despite that, his worldwide boss has no doubt Lafferty can once again answer his country's call.
Five games in and he was still waiting for his first victory, with a draw against Luxembourg in September 2012 dropping them to an all-time low of 129th in the world rankings, and O'Neill fearing his team had forgotten how to win. "His overall fitness is very good - but in terms of match fitness that's a different thing".