Ireland WNT Head Coach Colin Bell wants positives to continue in 'toughest test'
PHOTO: Republic of Ireland WNT Head Coach Colin Bell during yesterday’s training session at Abbotstown.

Ireland WNT Head Coach Colin Bell wants positives to continue in ‘toughest test’

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team Head Coach Colin Bell believes Scotland poses the ‘toughest test’ of the year.

Since taking over as Head Coach of the WNT, Bell has enjoyed a great run of form which has seen his side lose just once and keep five clean sheets in just six games.

The only defeat of the year came in the 3rd/4th place play-off in the Cyprus Cup to a strong Korea DPR side ranked 8th in the world and whilst they’ve claimed victories over Slovakia, Wales and Czech Republic.

Scotland are currently in preparation for the UEFA Women’s European Championships and the international friendly will be their final test before flying out to the Netherlands.

With the squad set to fly out on Wednesday for Friday’s match with kick-off at 7.30pm, Bell is aware of the challenge posed for the WNT.

“It is going to be really difficult for us, if not our toughest test yet since I took on the role,” the WNT Head Coach said.

“They’re currently preparing for the European Championships and they obviously did incredibly well to qualify for those Championships.

“But also, we’ve got players who are just coming into the squad from their holidays during the off-season so we need to make sure everyone is at the right level to go out there and perform.

“We’re also missing a couple of players but we’ve had some great performances and results this year and I really want to see the players take that spirit into Friday’s match.”

Striker Stephanie Roche and goalkeeper Emma Byrne have been ruled out of the squad to face Scotland but Houston Dash midfielder Denise O’Sullivan arrived into camp today.

With Ireland set to kick-off their 2019 World Cup qualification campaign in September against Northern Ireland, Bell wants to see his players take full use of the match.

“It’s really important we continue to work on what we’ve been doing in the previous matches this year and make those little improvements before the campaign starts in September,” Bell added.

“We’ve made some good progress this year and have been able to keep several clean sheets in our recent matches. However, I know the players can get to another level and playing opposition like Scotland will only help us do that.

“We want to go into that qualification campaign on a high so it’s really important we get a result but it won’t be easy. We’ll be looking at a few options leading upto the match but it’s another fixture I’m really looking forward to.”

Video: FAI TV interview with Colin Bell

Republic of Ireland WNT squad v Scotland

Goalkeepers:

Marie Hourihan (Manchester City),
Amanda Budden (Cork City WFC),
Amanda McQuillan (Shelbourne Ladies).

Defenders:

Harriet Scott (Reading WFC),
Sophie Perry (Brighton and Hove Albion),
Diane Caldwell (SC Sand),
Louise Quinn (Arsenal Ladies),
Niamh Fahey (Chelsea WFC),
Megan Campbell (Manchester City).

Midfielders:

Karen Duggan (UCD Waves),
Denise O’Sullivan (Houston Dash),
Megan Connolly (Florida State University),
Ruesha Littlejohn (Celtic),
Roma McLaughlin (Shelbourne Ladies),
Alex Kavanagh (Shelbourne Ladies).

Forwards:

Aine O’Gorman (UCD Waves),
Dearbhaile Beirne (UCD Waves),
Leanne Kiernan (Shelbourne Ladies),
Heather Payne (Peamount United),
Katie McCabe (Arsenal Ladies).

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