Final preparations are underway as the England teams meet for the final time before heading out to the CEV Volleyball European under 20 and under 19 Championships.
Selected from the England Talent programme, the men’s U20 squad and the women’s U19 squad cut short their Christmas break to complete a tough three-day training camp at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering.
With both teams aiming to finish top of their groups to secure qualification for round two, the camp is the final time the teams will get together before they travel to Poland and Georgia in early January.
Rachel Laybourne, interim head coach for the women’s team, said: “We’ve had a really positive few days at the camp, making our final preparations ahead of the main event.
“While many people are still enjoying the festive fun, our teams have been here and have shown great commitment to their training.
“There are some fantastic players in our squads and we’re looking forward to heading out to Poland and Georgia next week.”
Both teams need to finish top of their respective groups to qualify for round two, which is due to take place in March.
Darren Lewis, who has been appointed as head coach for the men’s side, said: “Both teams have a fantastic opportunity to benchmark themselves against the best teams in Europe.
“There are some very talented players in our ranks and some excellent coaches so we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The women’s team will travel to Georgia to play the host nation and Belarus with the men heading to Poland to play Kosovo and Belarus.
The England Women will face Georgia on 8 January at 1700 local time (1300 GMT) before playing Belarus on 9 January at 1700 local time (1300 GMT).
The men will be in action on 8 January against Belarus at 1800 local time (1500 GMT) followed by Kosovo on 9 January at 1800 local time (1500 GMT).