Wales Women's football: Natasha Harding offers Euro fitness hope

Natasha Harding controls a high ball during a Wales match
Natasha Harding has played 17 times for Wales

Wales striker Natasha Harding says she will be fit for the start of the Euro 2017 qualifiers.

Jayne Ludlow's squad assembled for a training camp in Newport this week and take on Austria on 22 September.

Manchester City's Harding has not played since suffering an ankle injury in a game against Birmingham in July.

"It's been five and a half weeks since I suffered the injury. I'm hoping to return to full training with the squad next Monday," she said.

"I knew straight away that it was quite a bad injury. But the physios at Manchester City have been amazing.

"We have great facilities at the club. After two weeks I was running on an underwater treadmill.

"If I was at any other club I don't think I'd of been doing that and I don't think I would be where I am now regarding the injury.

"I'm at the the best possible club to have an injury. And I'm glad in a way that it's happened while I'm here."

Natasha Harding tangles with Chelsea's Claire Rafferty while playing for Manchester City
Natasha Harding played in this year's FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea

Following their match against Austria, Wales face group favourites Norway in October.

Harding was named vice captain after Ludlow was appointed as Jarmo Matikainen's coaching successor last year, and she admits that the extra responsibility has made her more determined to get herself fit for the Austria game.

"The Austria match is in the back of mind at the minute because I've got some big games coming up with City," admitted Harding.

"But that game is going to be massive for us because I think we've got the quality within the squad to qualify for the Euros.

"Everyone has bought into what Jayne [Ludlow] wants to achieve. We've got a squad that gives 100% in every training session and in every game."

Some of Harding's Manchester City team mates were part of the England squad that finished third at the World Cup in Canada.

City colleagues Steph Houghton, Lucy Bronze and Karen Bardsley were named in the Women's World Cup All-Stars squad.

"They want Wales to do as well as England. There's a lot of banter in the changing room but I can take it. Especially if we manage to qualify next time," Harding said.

Wales Ladies' training squad: Kylie Davies (Reading Ladies), Loren Dykes (Bristol WFC), Helen Bleazard (Yeovil Ladies), Sophie Ingle (Bristol WFC), Angharad James (Bristol WFC), Laura-May Walkley (Reading Ladies), Rachel Rowe (Reading Ladies), Nia Jones (Reading Ladies), Charlie Estcourt (Reading Ladies), Nicola Cousins (Yeovil Ladies), Lauren Hancock (Swansea City Ladies), Natasha Harding (Manchester City Ladies), Jo Price (Unattached), Helen Ward (Reading Ladies), Melissa Fletcher (Reading Ladies), Georgia Walters (Reading Ladies), Abbie Britton (Cardiff City Ladies), Rhiannon Roberts (Doncaster Rovers Belles), Hayley Ladd (Bristol WFC), Alice Evans (Yeovil Ladies), Emily Hollinshead (Everton Ladies), Naomi Clipston (Cardiff City Ladies), Claire Skinner (Reading Ladies).

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