Hope Powell looking to get the job done at Banks's Stadium...
HOPE Powell has named the squad she hopes will steer England Women to next summer’s European Championship Finals.
A win over Croatia here at Banks's Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 5.00pm) will secure a fifth consecutive appearance at a major tournament and the National Coach has called upon an experienced raft of players to get the job done.
Chief among them is Rachel Yankey who is poised to set a new appearance record for the team. The winger is currently level with Gillian Coultard on 119 caps but could go one further in the same venue where she earned her 100th cap, against Turkey in July 2010.
Three other centurions have also been included in the shape of Kelly Smith, who returns from injury after missing the last two qualifiers, against Holland and Slovenia, Fara Williams and captain Casey Stoney.
There is, though, a first senior team call-up for Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs, a former U19 captain, while Everton’s Toni Duggan will also be hoping to make her senior team bow at Banks’s Stadium.
Jess Clarke returns following injury but Ellen White misses out through suspension.
Powell said: “We can’t ignore the enormity of this game. If we get three points we qualify for the Euros without having to go through the play-offs, which is what we really want to avoid.
“Although we won 6-0 in Croatia [in March], we know it is not going to be easy and the games you are expected to win never are.
“We made this qualifying campaign a lot harder for ourselves by drawing the opening game with Serbia but we got better with every match since.
“Now we have to make sure we get the job done.”
£5 for adults, £2.50 for U16s and over 65s. U12s are free with a paying accompanying adult. To purchase your tickets, call into the Banks's Stadium Ticket Office or telephone 01922-651 414/416.
SQUAD IN FULL
Karen Bardsley (Linköping), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Carly Telford (Chelsea).
Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Chelsea).
Anita Asante (Göteborg), Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal).
Eniola Aluko (Birmingham City), Toni Duggan (Everton), Kelly Smith (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Birmingham City).