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Thursday 08 Apr 2021
Shiels: squad ‘very much together’ ahead of play-off

Northern Ireland senior women’s team manager Kenny Shiels insists his team are “ready to go” against Ukraine tomorrow.

The senior women are set to face Ukraine Women in the first instalment of a two-leg UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 play-off at the Kolos Stadium in Kovalivka (5pm start GMT).

Northern Ireland are the underdogs going into the game, and for the second leg in Belfast next Tuesday, however Shiels is not concerned by such a tag.

“Our preparations for the game tomorrow night have been good. We have been doing good things on the training pitch all week,” the manager said.

“We have been drip-feeding information on the opposition to the players. They now have lots of knowledge on their opponents.

“They know about the mission of what we want to achieve and they are very much together in that.” 

He admitted Ukraine have dangerous players all over the pitch but Northern Ireland have a game plan to keep them quiet and then play to their own strengths.

“Ukraine are at home first and therefore have not had to do any travelling. They will be thinking they will do well. However, our squad have worked well together this week and they are ready to go,” Shiels insisted.

The manager further revealed a few players are nursing niggles ahead of the historic game; it’s the first time the Northern Ireland senior women’s team have reached the play-offs for a major tournament.

Everton Women striker Simone Magill sat out training at Civil Service in Belfast yesterday to nurse an ongoing achilles problem.

But she trained this evening along with her team-mates at the Ukrainian FA’s national training centre in Kiev and Shiels is confident she will be available for selection tomorrow.