Hockey: Simpson puts pressure on players to impress

SCOTLAND Under-21 coach Rhona Simpson will use the two games against a Scotland A side this weekend to finalise her squad for the European Nations Championships in Lille at the end of next month.

Simpson, herself a former Olympic striker, is beginning to exert a bit of pressure on her young charges. "These games give me the chance to look at my players and for them to put into practice what they have been doing on the training ground. It is a final selection weekend so there will be a bit of added pressure which the girls need to start being able to handle," said Simpson.

Before Lille, Simpson has several opportunities to hone her youngsters into the finished article as they have friendly encounters with England, France and Belgium as well as the Junior Celtic Cup.

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Simpson, who is happy with the tests these matches will provide, added: "We still have a fair way to go, but we do have a good run of games coming up which will hopefully increase the intensity of the programme."

"Our strengths are our pace, particularly in attack. We've a good understanding of our individual roles and responsibilities, and also we've a number of players who can score from open play and penalty corners," Simpson said.

The Cala Edinburgh pair of Emily Bain and Amy Brodie along with Grove's Daniele Johnston have scored goals at international level, but it was Morag McLellan and Ali Howie who found the net in the most recent German test matches.

The sides play at Forthbank this afternoon and again at Bellahouston tomorrow.