Ireland WNT: Bell prepares squad for their ‘toughest test yet’ against Slovakia
WNT have arrived in Slovakia ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier…
Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Head Coach Colin Bell expects the ‘toughest test’ yet as his side prepare to face Slovakia on Tuesday.
The WNT arrived in Slovakia on Saturday ahead of the FIFA 2019 World Cup qualifier at the National Training Centre, Senec on Tuesday, October 24th with kick-off at 16.30pm (17.30pm local time).
The squad will be missing forward duo Stephanie Roche and Aine O’Gorman who both suffered injuries in the 2-0 win over Northern Ireland with the likes of Ruesha Littlejohn, Claire O’Riordan and Isibeal Atkinson called up to the squad.
Despite the injury problems, Bell is confident that the other players in the squad can step up and make their mark as Ireland look to claim maximum points from their first two games.
Bell said: “We’ve had a good journey across and it’s good to get back on the pitch over here in Slovakia. Training has been really good and I’m seeing plenty of positive signs.
“We’ve got to be really organised and ready to face them as this is going to be our toughest match so far. We’ll be missing the experience of Stephanie and Aine so we’ll have to compensate for that.
“Whoever comes in has to be up for the test of these qualifying matches but I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen during the camp so I’m sure whoever plays will be up for it.”
Slovakia suffered a heavy opening defeat in their qualifying campaign as top seeds Norway claimed a 6-1 win in September.
With Ireland looking to build on their opening win of the campaign, Bell believes Slovakia are a better side than the 6-1 scoreline suggests.
He added: “It will be a tough match especially after they lost their first game 6-1. It is a clear scoreline but the game was much different in reality.
“The scoreline didn’t reflect the match, Norway just scored every chance they had in the first-half and they seemed to shell-shock Slovakia during that spell.
“But, Slovakia took over the game in the second-half and created plenty of chances, they showed they’re a good side and that we need to be on top form to get the result.
“It will be physical. They’ve got to win so they’ve got to put us under pressure and we’ve got to be equipped to deal with that.”
Republic of Ireland WNT squad
Marie Hourihan (Manchester City),
Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies),
Eve Badana (Cork City WFC)
Harriet Scott (Reading WFC),
Diane Caldwell (SC Sand),
Louise Quinn (Arsenal),
Sophie Perry (Brighton & Hove Albion),
Clare Walsh (UCD Waves),
Megan Campbell (Manchester City)
Karen Duggan (UCD Waves),
Niamh Fahey (Bordeaux),
Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage),
Tyler Toland (Maiden City),
Roma McLaughlin (Shelbourne Ladies)
Katie McCabe (Arsenal, on loan at Glasgow City),
Heather Payne (Peamount United),
Claire O’Riordan (Wexford Youths),
Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic),
Isibeal Atkinson (Shelbourne Ladies)
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