Jayne Ludlow insists Wales will not take Northern Ireland lightly tonight – despite their opponents’ disastrous start to their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign.
While Wales were lording it in the Faroe Islands – where they were 6-0 winners in their opening tie – Northern Ireland were hammered by the same scoreline at home against Norway.
Admittedly, the Norwegians were World Cup quarter-finalists this summer and are a class above the Faroe Islanders, but it was still a scoreline that few saw coming.
Even so, Wales manager Ludlow is expecting a far different game to their romp in Torshavn.
“I’m sure it will be more challenging against Northern Ireland,” said Ludlow.
“They didn’t have the result they wanted in their first game but I’m sure they will look at us slightly different to how they looked at Norway.
“They will want to come here and compete. We’re prepared for that and we’re looking forward to what will hopefully be a good game for everyone watching and a challenging one I’m sure.
“We do know the Northern Ireland players better than the Faroes but our preparation has been the same as it would be for any team, whether it’s a lower ranked or higher ranked nation.”
Ludlow said Northern Ireland are heading in a different direction under the guidance of manager Kenny Shiels and that his side poise a different threat to the Faroe Islands.
She revealed she will utilise a different game plan to get the better of her opposite number.
“There were certain areas that we executed really well against the Faroe Islands,” added Ludlow.
“But we’re coming up against a team who won’t give us space to use so our game plan is very different.
“We prepare exactly the same way and make sure that we do the things we need to do to ensure we compete well.
“They have structurally changed what they do with the new manager being involved, so they seem to be going in a different direction to what they have done in the past.”
Wales return to Rodney Parade for their first competitive fixture since the 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat against England in August 2018.
And Ludlow said it is nice to have a place that her side can call home.
“For us, it’s nice playing at home,” said Ludlow.
“It’s lovely that we have a home ground which we love. The environment suits us in regards to what we need.
“Every home game we very much look forward to.”