DORSET coach Dan Neville will lead the British Virgin Islands in their World Cup qualifiers.

Neville, who heads up the well-established Champion Sports operation in Dorset, has been named interim manager for the opening CONCACAF Group C games against Guatemala and St Vincent & the Grenadines.

Both matches will be played in Curaçao due to Covid-19, with Guatemala the first opponents on Sunday, March 28 and St Vincent & the Grenadines on Wednesday, March 31.

Former Portland striker Bailey Rowe misses out on the squad after having an ankle operation last week.

However, his current Poole teammates Miguel Marshall plus midfielders Luka Chalwell and Tyler Forbes have all been selected.

There is a large disparity in the FIFA rankings between Neville’s men, who at 208th are the third-lowest team in the world, and their rivals.

Guatemala are ranked joint 130th with Comoros, while St Vincent & the Grenadines are 168th.

Speaking to Echosport, Neville, who will revert to his technical director role when a permanent manager is found, said: “When you’re playing and start coaching, the World Cup is the ultimate.

“Watching the 1990 World Cup was what sparked my interest in football.

“The average age of our starting XI is going to be 19.54 – we’ve got several 2002, 2003 and 2004-born players. It’s great to lead them.

“They were in our under-15s youth programme, our under-17s youth programme, so to see them transition across is really pleasing.”

The 42-year-old added: “From a personal point of view, the opportunity to lead a group in World Cup qualifiers is something we all aspire to.

“I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can be as competitive as we can be.

“For a young team, we’re taking a knife to a gun fight, but we’re ready for it.

“Our preparations have been really good, so we’re very much looking forward to it.”

Neville also explained the unusual travel situation surrounding his squad.

“Funnily enough, Curaçao is easier to get to from the UK than it is the Virgin Islands,” he said.

“We’ve got some players based in the UK but from the Virgin Islands we had to get a ferry to the US Virgin Islands, then overnight fly into Miami and then fly into Curaçao.

“In terms of travelling time, despite it only being two hours direct, it would’ve been the same as from the UK.

“Air travel in the Caribbean is very random, inefficient and expensive!”