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Saturday, January 01, 2011

GB U21 Men Prepare for World Championships

GREAT Britain Under-21 men travel to the Czech Republic this week where they will be competing in one of the toughest groups of the World Championship qualification stage.

A squad of 22 players will travel on Monday to prepare for the group stage, which begins on Friday with a clash against Slovenia, and continue with matches against the hosts Czech Republic on Jan 8 and Norway on Jan 9.

“Our average number of international matches in this squad is just four, while our opponents range from 28-40,” said Head coach Bill Baillie. “Our opponents have had most of their players in the system for four years, while ours have been with us for just one.

“But this is progress from last time and with the good work being undertaken by England Handball, this will only improve for future championships.”

A strong goalkeeping line-up goes to the Czech Republic with GB senior number three Nicholas Satchwell (pictured) leading newcomer Mukesh Singh, while Salford’s Rob Avery also looks promising.

Other key players for the Under-21s include GB seniors Chris Mohr who captains the U21s, while wingers Alex Girvan and Seb Edgar will be expected to put their experience with the GB seniors to good use.

Avery is joined in the squad by Salford team-mates Aden Woodall, Jack Hennessey and Josh Hampson who have all been in good form in the National League.

But the team is without injury victim Gawain Vincent, while Henrik Forsting is unavailable.

“We have been drawn in one of the toughest - if not the toughest - groups,” added Baillie.

“Slovenia finished third at the Under-20 European Championships in August and the Czech Republic finished 12th. And Norway were one of the best teams in pot three of the draw and are currently in Iceland preparing for these championships.”

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