Key strikers return to bolster Black Sticks

Goals galore, hopefully, is what they will deliver.

Key strikers Hugo Inglis and Stephen Jenness return to bolster the Black Sticks men's side for the European leg of the FIH Pro League.

Coach Darren Smith has named a strong side featuring a lot more firepower up front. But he can also call on experience in the middle of the park.

Veteran midfielder Marcus Child will play his 150th match for his country the next time he takes the pitch.

The Black Sticks play the Netherlands on June 5 in the first of their tour. Tough opponents in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Great Britain also await.

The European leg shapes as a great opportunity for the team to work on its combinations as it begins its journey to the Oceania Cup in Rockhampton.

That tournament is the first opportunity for the Black Sticks men to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"We have been able to select a team from most of the players in the current national squad," Smith said.

"This is [our best side] with the exception of Blair Tarrant, who will undergo back surgery next week, and Brad Read, who continues to recover from hip surgery.

"We are also seeing Simon Child return to club hockey and remain hopeful that over the year he will return to the Vantage Black Sticks.

"This will be a demanding and exciting tour with travel combined with high quality opposition to challenge us.

"Although performing well and getting some results will always be a focus of the Pro League, we are also looking toward the second half of the year to get ready to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games."

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