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Wilkinson returns to Ferns for Australia

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/05/2016

New Zealand women's soccer coach Tony Readings has welcomed the return from injury of striker Hannah Wilkinson for the two internationals against Australia in Victoria.

United States-based Wilkinson is included in a 20-strong squad and is poised to make her first international appearance since World Cup a year ago after recovering from a knee injury.

Having scored 23 goals in 72 Football Ferns appearances and will provide an important presence in the games at Ballarat on June 4 and Melbourne three days later, Readings said.

"We have definitely missed her. We have had some good results while Hannah has not been there but we know that bringing her back is like adding a new player.

"To have someone like her is only going to make us stronger."

Readings has also included two uncapped players - unattached striker Jane Barnett and Auckland-based defender Paige Satchell.

He said both had impressed at recent training camps.

Playing world No.5 Australia on their home turf is the perfect testing ground ahead of the Rio Olympics, with Readings wanting his team to lift to another level after a series of solid but unspectacular recent results.

"We need to be much more effective in the way we attack. We are playing well enough to compete in football matches consistently and the next step is to turn those performances into results."

Football Ferns squad:

Jane Barnett, Catherine Bott, Katie Bowen, Katie Duncan, Abby Erceg, Anna Green, Sarah Gregorius, Betsy Hassett, Amber Hearn, Cushla Lichtwark, Annalie Longo, Meikayla Moore, Erin Nayler, Ria Percival, Jasmine Pereira, Ali Riley, Paige Satchell, Rosie White, Hannah Wilkinson, Kirsty Yallop.

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