Table Tennis: Prean takes England to full strength

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CARL PREAN, the national champion, is fit to help England in its attempt to reach the semi-finals of the European League, a likely reward if England beat the Netherlands at Stourbridge today, writes James Leigh. Prean, after a wrist operation and five months out, won the deciding match for England in the 3-2 win in the friendly against Belgium at Leeds on Friday, even though he played with the injury still strapped.

Prean, who is based in Germany, has suffered no adverse reaction to returning earlier than expected and will line up in one of the three singles positions alongside Chen Xinhua, the England No 1, and Matthew Syed, the Oxford University student.

'It's the first time we have been at full strength since the end of last year, so we're hoping to do well,' Donald Parker, the England manager, said.

Alan Cooke, the former Commonwealth champion, fills the fourth position in the England team and may play doubles. The Dutch squad consists of Danny Heister, Trinko Keen and Henk van Spanje.