Under-17 girls are left reeling by injury blow
Northern Ireland have been hit with a major blow on the eve of their Uefa Under-17 Girls Championship Elite Stage qualifying group.
Alison Nicholl will lead her team into action against Denmark at Solitude today without captain Emma McMaster.
The Newry midfielder was given until the last minute to prove her fitness, but a back injury has ruled her out of the mini-tournament, which will also see Northern Ireland face Spain and Ukraine.
"Losing Emma is a big blow to us because she is one of our top players and she's destined for a senior call up soon," said Alison.
Brought into the squad is Chelsea Cochrane from Cardiff City. The Welsh-born defender has been capped by Wales, but has switched thanks to her qualification through a grandparent.
"We have a good group of players and Rebecca Bassett, Abbie Magee, Chloe Orr, Yasmin White and Caitlyn Hamilton are all big players for us," said Alison.
"We have stepped up our training programme and a lot of these girls will move up to the under-19 squad for next year's finals which we are hosting."
NORTHERN IRELAND UNDER-17 FIXTURES: Today: v Denmark (Solitude, 1pm), Thursday: v Spain (Seaview, 4pm), Sunday: v Ukraine (Seaview, 2pm).