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Thursday 08 Apr 2021
NI in good spirits ahead of Ukraine game, says McFadden

Experienced Northern Ireland Women midfielder Sarah McFadden has revealed her team-mates are in good spirits ahead of tomorrow’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 play-off match against Ukraine Women.

McFadden, who looks set to earn her 75th international cap in the game in Kovalivka, feels manager Kenny Shiels and his coaching staff have prepared the players well for the task ahead.

She said: “We are all just happy to be here and everyone is in really good spirits and we are ready to go. We are fully prepared for anything that we will come up against.”

The 33-year-old Durham Women midfielder said the players are not thinking beyond the play-off games in Ukraine tomorrow and Belfast next Tuesday.

“We are not even thinking of the Women’s Euros in England. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We have two massive games ahead of us. We are the underdogs against Ukraine but hopefully we can get the job done,” she said.

“Ukraine are ranked 24th in the world (compared to Northern Ireland in 49th) and we are under no illusions. It’s going to be a massive test for us.”

She pointed out that the Northern Ireland-based players in the 23-strong panel have been training really hard since before Christmas. 

“They have been training together four or five times a week. They do have that familiarity like a club team and have been training with our coaches. And, mixed in with those in the squad who have been playing regularly in England, I think that will really benefit us,” she said.

“We have got a really good group that have been together for a long time. When it comes to this point we can’t have any excuses. We’ve just got to get out there and do the job.”