Northern Ireland women on a roll as they return to Windsor for World Cup clash

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Northern Ireland beat Luxembourg 4-0 on Friday

Q Radio Sport

Northern Ireland women’s boss Kenny Shiels is relishing the prospect of his team playing at the redeveloped National Football Stadium at Windsor Park for the first time - but is expecting a tough test against Latvia.

His squad go into Tuesday night’s (7pm) FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier on the back of a 4-0 win over Luxembourg in the group opener at the weekend.

“It was a great win on Friday night,” Shiels said. “We wanted to get that one put to bed.

"Luxembourg were decent and they caused us a couple of problems in the game but we learned from that. And we looked at the balance of our play and how we set up for a transition.

"Latvia will be a level above that, I’m sure.”

Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels with his son, Dean, part of the coaching team 

Shiels says playing at Windsor Park is a big opportunity for his players to showcase their brand of football on a stage that is so familiar to thousands of Northern Ireland fans across the world.

“It’s so special. The stadium is immense and it’s the focal point of what we are. And the girls will surely feel we’re at home here. We feel a belonging, we feel an identity and we feel that to represent your country is fantastic," he said.

“It’s great to be here to demonstrate what our product is like in front of our supporters and our families. I feel that this is a fantastic opportunity for the girls and for the women’s game.”

Emily Wilson grabbed her first senior international goal against Luxembourg in Larne on Friday night

And the boss is calling for the fans to get behind the team in Belfast.

“I want to thank the fans so much for their support. We need them as much as we need good footballers. We need a good base where supporters are coming to get behind the team.

“When you listen to the Kop in the men’s game, we want to get that. That’s the best in the world. If we can get that it would be great for the girls. Can you imagine the girls getting that support? How good they would be? It would be fantastic.”

Final word from the inspirational, in-form team captain who simply can't wait to get going on Tuesday night:

Kenny Shiels' former club Derry City drew 3-3 with Bohemians in Dublin on Monday night.

The Candystripes remain fourth in the League of Ireland standings.

There are first round ties in the County Antrim Shield on Tuesday evening.

They include a repeat of last season's final with holders Larne facing Glentoran.

Larne v Glentoran

Bangor v PSNI 

Ballyclare v Queen's University

Dundela v Carrick Rangers

Ballymena United v H&W Welders

Crusaders v Newington

Cliftonville v Knockbreda 

Kick off 7.45pm

(Linfield v Ards to take place on Tuesday 5 October).


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