Hockey: Mills sees Dixon as boon

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The Independent Online
THE Women's National League restarts tomorrow after the mid- season break and Ipswich will be intent on maintaining their three- point lead at the top of Division One . But they know that the visit of Ealing to their Tuddenham Road ground will be no walkover.

The Ipswich manager, Donna Mills, who yesterday reported the return to the squad of Britain's Olympic bronze medallist, Vickey Dixon, after injury, said: 'Ealing are a side who were coming good as we went into the Christmas break and it is going to be a very tough game. I am confident, with Vickey Dixon's return, that we can maintain our position.'

Ealing will be without Andrea Gallery, out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, but expect to have Katie Dodd back after injury.

The champions, second-placed Slough, visit Chelmsford and will be hoping to keep in touch with the leaders. Chelmsford have their international striker, Jo Green, back in the squad but it will be another week at least before her England colleague, Jane Smith, returns. Slough are at full strength.

At Cannock, the strong but struggling Leicester Balsam side - currently below the relegation line but boosted by their 1-0 win at Hightown in their last outing - will be looking to improve their chances of avoiding relegation at the expense of Sutton Coldfield. With a couple of British Olympic bronze medallists on both sides it could be a high-class contest.

With four sides unbeaten at the top of Division One the second half of the season promises to be full of interest. Trojans, the leaders who have yet to concede a goal, entertain third-placed Harleston Magpies. Should they slip up, second-placed Blueharts, likely winners at Bracknell, are in the wings.