The England Under-17s visit Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium next month and coach John Peacock is hoping a large home backing can roar his side into the European Championship in Bulgaria this summer.
Peacock’s Young Lions welcome Norway, Slovenia and Romania to these shores next month for their Elite Round European qualifiers, where a place in the top two in the group of four will seal a spot in this summer’s tournament.
“It’s great to get home advantage for these fixtures, being based at St George’s Park and playing the games locally is a massive boost for us,” said Peacock.
“We have three tough games against Romania, Slovenia and Norway, which won’t be easy, but if the players play to the best of their ability we have a great chance of qualifying.”
The head coach guided last year’s crop of Under-17s to glory, winning the Euros in Malta last May - the second time he has managed the feat, having lifted the crown in 2010 also.
And with Chesterfield and Burton Albion playing host to England’s matches, Peacock is hoping three victories in front of a vocal home support will be the first steps on the road to glory again.
“It would be nice to emulate last year by winning it again but we have to qualify for the finals in Bulgaria first and these matches will provide tough tests for our players,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get some good attendances and people will come out and watch these young players of the future. In past games at Burton and Chesterfield we’ve had some strong crowds and the clubs have been fantastic in hosting these fixtures and prompting the matches.
“To win the Elite Round and qualify for the Finals is always tough, but we have reached many semi-finals and finals in the past, so let us hope we can continue our good run of the past several years.”
He added: “We’ve achieved a couple of successes and with a bit of luck, hopefully there will be more to come. We are fortunate in that the clubs are producing some good players which should make us competitive against some tough opposition.”
Tickets for England v Norway (Saturday, March 21, 3pm) and their final qualifier against Romania (Thursday, March 26, 7pm), both held at Burton Albion, are available online at Burtonalbionfc.co.uk/tickets or by calling 01283 565938.
Tickets for the Young Lions clash with Slovenia at the Proact Stadium, which takes place on Monday, March 23 (7pm), are available online (subject to £1 booking fee) at www.chesterfield-fc.co.uk/tickets or by calling 01246 488232.
Tickets are priced at just £3 for adults and £1.50 for concessions (those aged 18 and under/65 and over). The concession rate is also available to season ticket holders and membership card holders. Tickets can be purchased on the night.
In preparation for the Elite Round, Peacock and the England Under-17s travel to Portugal next week for the Algarve Tournament, where they will face the hosts, Holland and Germany.