No place like home
Friday, 18 November, 2011
Jess Clarke keen to pick up three Euro qualifying points in Doncaster.
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Jess Clarke believes a combination of England’s quality and a fervent home backing will help guide Hope Powell’s side to three crucial Euro qualifying points next Wednesday.
Serbia are the visitors to Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium and the Three Lions will be hoping to avenge Vesna Smiljkovic’s 94th-minute equaliser the last time the two sides met, in Belgrade in September. A Rachel Yankey strike and a Violeta Slovic own goal had given England a 2-0 half-time lead, but Danka Podovac halved the deficit with a free-kick early in the second period and Smiljkovic’s late, late strike gave the hosts what had at one stage appeared an unlikely draw.
England regrouped and five days later beat Slovenia 4-0 in Swindon, before earning a hard earned 0-0 draw in Holland last month, and Clarke is eager to keep this momentum going in South Yorkshire.
“Any team that is playing at home does have the advantage,” said the winger. “Serbia were probably a bit more used to the heat than we were. But now we are playing at home, it won't be anywhere near as hot and we’ll have a good crowd behind us. The Keepmoat is an absolutely fantastic stadium and if we can fill the ground it will make for a brilliant atmosphere.
“I thought there were a lot of positives we can take from that Serbia game last time,” she continued. “We kept the ball well and applied everything we had worked on in training but, obviously, towards the end perhaps we needed some better game management.
“But we got over that disappointment quickly with a good win over Slovenia, we did really well against the Dutch and hopefully we can build on that next week.”
Squad in full (click on each player's name for a full profile)
Karen Bardsley (Linköpings, on loan from Sky Blue), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy)
Sophie Bradley (Nottingham Forest, on loan from Lincoln), Alex Scott (Boston Breakers), Casey Stoney (Lincoln), Dunia Susi (Birmingham City), Rachel Unitt (Everton), Fern Whelan (Everton)
Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Dani Buet* (Chelsea), Jess Clarke (Lincoln), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Jade Moore (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal)
Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Natasha Dowie (Everton), Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers), Ellen White (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Birmingham City)
* replaced Eniola Aluko from Sky Blue, who withdrew from the squad due to her legal studies