England coach Hope Powell targets improved finishing

By Tony LeightonWomen's football correspondent
Hope Powell
Powell was frustrated by her side's poor finishing against Serbia

England coach Hope Powell is demanding an improvement in her team's finishing against Slovenia in Thursday evening's Euro 2013 qualifier at Swindon.

Powell's team scored only two of 30 attempts against Serbia on Saturday and paid the price as the hosts came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2.

"We weren't clinical enough," said Powell reflecting on a poor result against lowly opposition in Belgrade.

"That's what we're working on in preparation for Thursday."

Slovenia, like Serbia, are minnows in the women's game and Arsenal's Ellen White, one of England's misfiring strikers on Saturday, admitted: "It's a must-win match."

The game at Swindon's County Ground is only the second of England's eight qualifiers but White's "must-win" assessment is not an exaggeration.

In a five-nation qualifying group which also includes low-ranking Croatia, the only real threat to England reaching the 2013 finals is Holland.

White added: "Getting only a point was better than losing on Saturday, but it makes life a bit harder going into the games we've got left - we'll have to win every one."

The Holland team, who England face in Zwolle next month, will have been delighted with England's result in Belgrade ahead of their own meeting with Serbia.

"The Dutch will look at it [the 2-2 draw] with absolute glee," reckoned Powell. "And why shouldn't they? It's put them in a great position.

"We've put ourselves under a bit of pressure by dropping two points, and it's undoubtedly going to be a tough game against them in October.

"But our focus right now is on getting three points against Slovenia. The girls were bitterly disappointed with themselves in Serbia and they want to put it right.

"If it's scrappy and we get three points I'll be happy, if we get three points and we're commanding and dominant that will give us a lot more confidence against Holland."

Changes are likely to the side that disappointed on Saturday, but with several key players unavailable Powell's options are limited.

Most crucially as she looks for goals, Powell is without Kelly Smith through injury and fellow striker Eni Aluko due to a clash with exam dates.

England women's squad to face Slovenia:

Bardsley (New Jersey Sky Blue), Brown (Everton), Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Bradley (Lincoln), A. Scott (Boston Breakers), Stoney (Lincoln), Susi (Birmingham City), Unitt (Everton), Whelan (Everton), Bassett (Birmingham City), Buet (Chelsea), Carney (Birmingham City), Clarke (Lincoln), Houghton (Arsenal), J. Scott (Everton), F. Williams (Everton), Yankey (Arsenal), Dowie (Everton), R. Williams (Birmingham City), E. White (Arsenal).