Euro 2017: Wales men can inspire women's side - Jayne Ludlow

Jayne Ludlow
Jayne Ludlow managed Reading before her appointment by Wales in October 2014
Uefa Women's Euro Qualifier: Austria v Wales
Date: Tuesday 22 September Venue: NV Arena, St Polten, Austria Kick-off: 17:30 BST
Coverage: Live audio commentary at bbc.co.uk/sportwales

Wales women's squad can be inspired by the success of their male counterparts, says boss Jayne Ludlow.

Wales women begin their 2017 European Championship qualifying campaign in Austria on Tuesday.

Chris Coleman's men's side need only a point from their final two Euro 2016 qualifiers to reach next year's finals in France.

"When our girls watch the men play they can't but not be inspired because they are playing very well," Ludlow said.

Wales' men are top of qualifying Group B and a point would see them reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958.

The women's side have never qualified for a major tournament, but former national team captain Ludlow hopes her team can benefit from Welsh football's feel-good factor.

Ludlow's side face Austria in their opening game in St Polten in a group that also features top seeds Norway, Israel and Kazakhstan.

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"I think with the men doing so well the environment in Wales is a little bit different now when people talk about football," Ludlow said.

"We're actually now talking about potentially a very successful team.

"We haven't been able to do that in a good few years and it's an exciting time to be part of the Association."

Former Arsenal player Ludlow, 36, will be in charge of her first competitive game since succeeding Jarmo Matikainen in October.

Matikainen's side missed out on a play-off spot in the 2015 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Eight group winners and the six best runners-up will join hosts the Netherlands in the finals, while the other two runners-up will contest a play-off for the last qualification spot.

Ludlow expects the teams in Wales' Euro 2017 qualifying group to offer a variety of challenges.

"They're all going to be tough opposition and we'll prepare differently for all of them," Ludlow said.

"Austria are our main contenders. They're ranked second in the group and we're ranked third in the group.

"If we want to progress further than we have before they are the ones who potentially are going to be the team we have to beat."

Wales squad:

Kylie Davies (Reading Ladies), Loren Dykes (Bristol Academy Women), Sophie Ingle (Bristol Academy Women), Angharad James (Bristol Academy Women), Laura-May Walkley (Reading Ladies), Rachel Rowe (Reading Ladies), Nia Jones (Reading Ladies), Natasha Harding (Manchester City Women), Jo Price (Unattached), Helen Ward (Reading Ladies), Melissa Fletcher (Reading Ladies), Rhiannon Roberts (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Hayley Ladd (Bristol Academy Women), Naomi Clipston (Cardiff City Ladies), Claire Skinner (Reading Ladies), Chloe Lloyd (Cardiff City Ladies), Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign), Kayleigh Green (Cardiff City Ladies), Helen Bleazard (Yeovil Town Ladies), Charlie Estcourt (Reading Ladies).

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