| ||PROBABLE LINEUPS|
Cathcart, McAuley, Evans, Bruce
Davis, McCann, Brunt, Ferguson
Anyukov, V.B'skiy, Ignashevich, A.B'skiy
Bystrov, Dzagoev, Shirokov
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill misses a pair of regulars on suspension, Fulham midfielder Chris Baird and FC Sion's Kyle Lafferty, and thus will be forced to reshuffle part of his lineup.
Rangers' Dean Shiels (knee) is also set to watch from the sidelines, meaning Championship duo Jamie Ward and Martin Paterson are expected to form a partnership up front.
Former England boss Fabio Capello brings a robust squad to Windsor Park as his Group F-leading side returns to competitive action. Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Alan Dzagoev, and Sergei Ignashevich are all available and likely to start.
The Italian tactician once again has chosen to banish veterans Andrey Arshavin, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pavel Pogrebnyak from the national team, but could hand 26-year-old Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Dmitry Tarasov his maiden cap after a last-minute call-up.
Russia could be without ex-Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov, who is struggling with a muscle injury, for the encounter.
| ||DID YOU KNOW?|
Northern Ireland and Russia meet for only the second time in a competitive fixture in their history. The Eastern Europeans emerged victorious 2-0 back in September in Moscow in their first bout of consequence.
Every player named in Capello's squad for the match is based in the Russian Premier League, drawn from a total of seven clubs.
Russia striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov (pictured right) netted his first competitive goal for the national side since October 2010 against Israel in September, and sits four behind Vladimir Beschastnyk in second place on his country's all-time scoring chart.
Northern Ireland has not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1986, while the Russians are themselves without a berth since 2002.
Since their last finals appearance in 1986, Northern Ireland has not finished higher than fourth in a World Cup qualifying group.
Russia is yet to lose since Capello assumed the helm in July 2012, posting five wins and two draws across friendlies and competitive fixtures.
Roy Carroll and Kyle Lafferty are the only two players in the Northern Ireland squad who do not ply their trade in England or Scotland at club level, putting their talents on display in Greece and Switzerland respectively.
Russia has not succumbed to defeat in the qualifying stages of a major tournament since losing 1-0 to Slovakia in September 2010.