Northern Ireland senior women’s team interim manager Gail Redmond says the players are “really excited” to be facing Czechia in a friendly international tomorrow (18 July).
She said the second part of this month’s double helping of friendlies will enable the team to put into practice some things which did not go right against Scotland Women last week.
That first instalment, in Dundee on Friday night, saw Northern Ireland lose out by three goals to nil, with all the goals coming in a seven-minute period just after the half-hour mark.
However, the interim boss insists there were “lots of positives” to take from the game at the Kilmac Stadium (Dens Park).
Redmond further revealed: “The beauty of having two friendlies back to back is that you can debrief better together and focus on certain aspects of the game where you can do better.
“There were so many positives from the Scotland game. Our levels of fitness were excellent, especially in the second half. We were happy that we matched Scotland in so many different areas. It was just unfortunate that our concentration went just after the half-hour mark, and it took us too long to recover.
“After the goals went in I thought we did really well. There were positives in how we attacked and also how compact we were. We restricted the Scots to very few chances in the second half, which was really, really good.”
She revealed tomorrow’s game against the Czechs will enable her to give game time to some members of the 23-strong panel who did not play against Scotland.
Redmond pointed out: “When you have a double header you are just not focused on one particular line-up. It provides you with an opportunity to change things and give more players the chance to perform.
“Providing opportunities for younger players is going to be crucial for this team moving forward. We have players who have been seasoned performers for so long but we need to get other players more caps and expose them to senior international competition.”
The interim boss said that when choosing the starting eleven for the friendly in Opava (18:30 BST kick-off) she will take into consideration where the players are in the performance cycle just now.
“A lot of players are at different stages. Some are still in pre-season. Some have had only a week’s training under their belts, so we will take that into consideration. I expect to make some changes to the starting line-up,” she revealed.
A few players picked up knocks against the Scots, however Redmond said everyone is now fit and raring to go.
And she added: “We definitely need to freshen up the squad, and that’s the fantastic thing when you have 23 players.
“Training has been very competitive throughout this camp and that always gives the head coach a headache when it comes to selecting the team.”
Tomorrow’s game is being staged at Stadion v Mestskych sadech (Stadium Municipal Gardens) in Opava.