by Dan Cope & Editor
Date: Thursday 4th April (KO 19:00)
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport
WALES Women will be looking to kick start preparations for their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign when they take on Czech Republic in Newport tonight.
Jayne Ludlow’s side play the friendly in front of a record breaking crowd at Rodney Parade, the venue for their heart-breaking loss to England last August in the World Cup qualifiers.
Over two thousand tickets have been sold, which is a record for a Wales Women’s friendly. Ludlow will be hoping the large support for Wales works in her team’s favour as a positive result would end their run of six games without one.
Their winless spell started with that 3-0 defeat to England which ended their World Cup hopes. Since then, they have played friendlies in Portugal, Italy and Spain, but haven’t managed a goal in their last six games.
“We’ve had a few away games in this off period between qualifying campaigns and it’s really nice to come back home,” said Ludlow when she announced her squad.
“It’s been an interesting last four camps. Some have worked well, some haven’t. For us it’s been more about development in the friendlies we’ve played.
“Hopefully we’ll get a few more [supporters] by kick-off on Thursday. It’s going to be an event so the more people we can get to turn up the better.”
Ludlow will be looking to a mix of youth and experience to help her side return to winning ways.
Everton’s 17 year old striker Elise Hughes was named as Wales young player of 2018 and features in the squad alongside Cardiff City Ladies midfielder Chloe Lloyd. She returns after nearly a year on the sidelines following an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Speaking to Exposport about her recovery, Lloyd said: “I was taking each stage of rehab very carefully, I knew about this kind of injury and I knew what I had to do to be back.”
Ludlow also confirmed Bristol City full back Loren Dykes will win her 100th cap tonight. Dykes started her international career whilst Ludlow was coming to the end of her time as a player for Wales.
Dykes told BBC Sport Wales: “I never imagined I would reach 100 caps, I would not have believed that.”
She added: “I am going to try my best to take it all in.”