Lowestoft Town duo get World Cup qualification call ahead of Stockport clash
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The visit of former Football League club Stockport will be a timely reminder of Lowestoft Town's progress this afternoon – in the same week that two of the club's players received international call-ups.
Qualification for the 2018 World Cup will begin for striker Bradley Woods-Garness and winger Dean Mason later this month, after being called up by Caribbean nation Montserrat.
The duo could feature in a two-legged play-off against Curaçao in early qualifying, with Cuba awaiting the victor in the next round.
'It's fantastic for them, it seems quite a professional set-up because the last training session was at (England's training base) St George's Park,' Lowestoft joint manager Ady Gallagher explained. 'Some of the players are full-time in this country, so good look to them both, it's good for their profile and the profile of our club.'
Former England schoolboy international Woods-Garness picked up a serious knee injury early in his Lowestoft career, having signed from Canvey Island in the summer of 2013. The 28-year-old has scored four goals in 23 games this season, although only started five of those matches. He scored the winner in a 1-0 victory at Leiston in the Suffolk Premier Cup semi-finals on Wednesday though, having set-up Jake Reed's winner at North Ferriby last weekend.
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'He's only now starting to get near where he was when we signed him, which has been a massive frustration for us all,' Gallagher added.
'When teams sign centre-forwards they are there to score goals, so we know the ability that he has got and he is starting to get near the level that we know he is capable of again now.
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'It's been a long process but with his international call-up and a couple of goals recently, and his assist last week, hopefully he's got a big part to play over the rest of the season for us.'
Several first-team players got some much-needed minutes in the win at Leiston, giving the Blues a strong squad to choose from today, with winger Lee Smith expected to overcome a sore calf but striker Danny Crow and defender Curtis Haynes-Brown still sidelined.
The Hatters – who faced Norwich City in League One as recently as the 2009/10 season – ended a three-match losing streak with a 1-0 win at Brackley and a 1-0 home win against Solihull Moors.
Gallagher continued: 'We'll look to give a good account of ourselves against a very good side and if we get anywhere near the levels of the last month, we will certainly give them a good game.'