Pacquette sets sights on World Cup

LAST week Hawks striker Richard Pacquette had his sights set on an FA Cup shock, now the West Leigh Park man is determined to pull off an upset in the World Cup.

Pacquette, who scored in the Hawks' memorable trip to Anfield last Saturday, has been handed a call-up to the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica's national team.

With a population of 71,000, they play host to Barbados in a CONCACAF 2010 World Cup pre-qualifier at Windsor Park, Roseau, next Wednesday.

And the side, who are currently 188th in the FIFA world rankings, have summoned Pacquette to help them secure a place in the final qualifying group that includes 2002 World Cup quarter-finalists USA.

Pacquette flew out to the Caribbean on Wednesday to meet up with team coach Christopher Erickson and his new team-mates.

Dominica, whose 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign ended in 10-0 and 8-0 defeats against Mexico, will be rank-outsiders for the game against Barbados.

Their ranks include Aston Villa striker Marlon Harewood, Wigan defender Emerson Boyce and Crystal Palace midfielder Paul Ifill.

But with Pacquette now used to competing with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Sami Hyypia and Peter Crouch, Hawks manager Shaun Gale is tipping his front man to make an impact at international level.

'Although it's not the same level as England, Richard is more than good enough to do a job at this level of international football,' said Gale.

'There's no doubt he could play at a higher level and he has the ability to make his mark playing for Dominica.

'He knows why he's not playing at a higher level in England at the moment – we've spoken about it on a few occasions and he knows he needs to be more consistent.

'But he's still young and if he keeps on progressing, there's no reason why he can't find himself playing for a league club.'

With Pacquette missing this weekend, Gale said he will have to change his game plan for tomorrow's league trip to Hayes and Yeading.

However, he added that he couldn't refuse Pacquette the chance.

'Richard will only miss the one game, so we were happy to let him go,' he said.

'The club held a board meeting and we decided we couldn't stand in his way. Although he's very laid-back, he's also excited at the prospect of playing for the country of his family.

'The club is also pleased that he's been handed the chance of playing international football.'

Debutant Pacquette is expected to return to the Caribbean for the return fixture, which will be played in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 26.

Hawks fans who made the trip to Anfield for the FA Cup fourth-round tie against Liverpool are being given the chance to see their heroes in action for free next week.

Those who present their match ticket from the Anfield game will be allowed into next Saturday's home match against Cambridge City for nothing.

The club see it as an ideal opportunity to thank fans for their support during the Hawks' recent Cup run.