England U21 v Romania U21 preview
Pearce's side just 180 minutes from Euro 2011 U21 finals
Last Updated: 08/10/10 10:51am
Pearce: Romania test
England Under-21s tackle Romania Under-21 on Friday night with both teams just 180 minutes away from a place at the 2011 European Championship finals.
The first leg is being played at Norwich City's Carrow Road and a partisan crowd is expected with the match in East Anglia being sold out.
The return leg will be played in Romania next Tuesday in the northern outpost of Botosani, while next summer's finals are being staged in Denmark.
England arrive in good form having qualified for the play-offs as one of the best runners-up thanks to a 3-0 victory over Lithuania in Colchester last month.
Romania topped their group, however, getting the better of Russia and winning eight of their 10 fixtures.
England U21 boss Stuart Pearce will be without defenders Micah Richards and Kieran Gibbs, who both played in the 2009 final when England lost to Germany.
Pearce is also without reserve goalkeeper Alex Smithies of Huddersfield Town, although he can call upon the services of Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere.
Manchester City defender Kieran Trippier was handed his maiden England Under-21 call-up by Pearce due to absentees in his backline.
Romania are boosted by the return of captain Gabriel Torje. The FC Dinamo Bucuresti striker missed the last two group games after his own promotion to the senior ranks.
Emil Sandoi will, however, be without injured strikers Liviu Ganea and Mihai Costea for the first leg, though the latter could be back for the return leg next Tuesday.
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group One
|6||San Marino U21||9||4|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Two
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Three
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Four
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Five
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Six
|4||Rep of Ireland U21||7||8|
|5||Faroe Islands U21||7||1|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Seven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eight
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Nine
|5||N Ireland U21||7||3|
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Ten
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Eleven
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Twelve
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Thirteen
European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group Fourteen