Brighton & Hove Albion’s women’s first-team manager Hope Powell believes there are plenty of reasons to be positive after a difficult start to the season, and highlighted the squad’s overall improvement since taking the job.
Powell took charge of her first match just over a year ago, and the Seagulls boss spoke about her side’s progression ahead of a tricky FA Women’s Super League match against Everton today.
She said, “This will be a real test for us and it will be another hard challenge. If we can package elements of the Liverpool and Bristol performances together, then we’ll get closer to what we want to achieve.
“The girls continue to work hard; I know it’s disappointing that we haven’t scored or had a point yet, but we’re not bottom.
“That being said, it’s very important to recognise that we’re probably a better team now in the last 12 months compared to when I started.
“The players know that, and it’s disappointing when they work so hard, but my message is they’ve got to keep going, because the priority is to stay up.”
The Albion manager assessed the challenge that Everton will pose in more detail, and has been impressed with their tactical discipline.
“They play quite a challenging system with a 3-4-3, and their front three are a bit narrow when they’re attacking.
“After looking at their footage from when they played against Man City and Reading, that’s where they were dangerous.
“It’s a difficult system to play against, but that being said, there are weakness there that we’ll need to exploit.”
Powell also delivered a team news update ahead of the match and has been pleased to welcome Marie Hourihan back into the team.
“We’ve got a potential bug going round, so we’ve had to send a few players home. The good thing is Marie Hourihan is back in full fitness and is looking sharp.
“Emily Simpkins has a little way to go. She’s got drop foot and lost the sensation from her knee downwards, but has been working hard to get back.
“Sophie Harris has just had her cast off, which is great news, while Fern [Whelan] injured her achilles in training and Sophie Perry is ill.
“Ini [Umotong] and Victoria Williams had a bit of flu, but hopefully they’ll be okay for Sunday.”
Albion supporters can follow the action from the game on the club’s official Twitter feed and a report and match reaction will be uploaded after the match.
The official FA WSL Facebook page will also be live streaming the contest this afternoon and fans can click here to watch Powell's side in action.