Harkin aims to take on the old enemy

LONDONDERRY girl Una Harkin has admitted she's playing her biggest game in her career when Northern Ireland Ladies face England in the UEFA Championship qualifier, at Mourneview Park, tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Harkin, who had treatment this week on an injured ankle can't wait to take on the World Cup finalists and feels Alfie Wylie's side have a chance of securing three points.

"England is a top class footballing country, but we'll not go down without a fight," said Harkin.

"We have to play to the best of our abilities for the entire 90 minutes and we can beat them."

In their first match in Group One, Northern Ireland lost 4-0 in Spain and things aren't going to get any easier against England.

Hope Powell's Ladies reached the World Cup quarter-finals, where they lost 3-0 to USA and Harkin knows coming up against the likes of Arsenal striker Kelly Smith, can only improve her game.

"Not only did England reach the World Cup in Japan last year, but they were beaten at the quarter-final stage, so we know how difficult it is going to be for us," added the Drumahoe YMCA Ladies defender.

"They had a number of quality players such as Kelly Smith, Karen Carney and Rachel Yankey, but although we are currently punching above ourselves, I still feel we can get a positive result against England.

Manager Alfie Wylie feels the talented centre-back may make the difference between the Girls in Green winning or losing.

"Una has worked very hard and is fully committed to the cause. She is a powerful centre half who likes to go and win the ball and competes for everything; she is strong in the air and in the tackle and gives us a lot of strength in defence."