Mark Downes has admitted to Total-Fishing that the team is ‘struggling a bit’ in its bid to bring back gold from the European Championships.

Speaking two days into the official practice session on the 200 metre wide Prince Albert Canal in Leige, coach Mark said: “It is a bit of a struggle. The biggest weight we’ve managed is 2.5kg but we keep plugging away and we are keeping an eye on what the top teams like Italy and France and of course Belgium are doing.

“It’s a hard, deep venue holding skimmers, roach and bream, and when a boat goes through you are looking at three foot high waves.  

“But the record book shows that we have fantastic resolve and should have faith in our lads to come up with the goods. We have done something today which has worked and we are still confident.”

Before the match Mark had issued a press release through the National Federation of Anglers, saying that he expected the team to come back with a medal and he was hopeful it would be gold.

The England team comprises Bob Nudd, Steve Gardener, Alan Scotthorne, Will Raison, Stuart Conroy and Shaun Ashby. The match takes place this weekend on June 29/30.

Read Mark Downes’ views on match fishing in 2002 every month, only in Midland Angler