Brighton & Hove Albion’s women’s first-team manager Hope Powell praised the attitude and work rate from her players ahead of Sunday’s FA Women’s Super League opener against Bristol City.
The majority of Albion’s players have made the step up to full-time football for the first time, and Powell hopes their hard work on the training pitch will reap dividends come matchday.
She said, “We’re as ready as we can be, and the girls have worked exceptionally hard.
“The transition of going from part-time to full-time does take a bit of time, and I have to give a lot of credit for the girls for doing that.
“We’re about ten weeks in now and they’re starting to appreciate the full-time programme, are more relaxed with it and know what the expectations are.
“They found pre-season really tough and were not familiar with training every day, but they’ve got used to that intensity and are pushing on.
“I have to give them a lot of respect because they’ve worked very hard. The opportunity to be a professional footballer is every player’s dream and they’re going to give it a good go.”
Powell also assessed the qualities of some of the club’s new summer signings, before reiterating the team's desire for consolidation in the top flight.
“There are a number of new players, and some have played at this level before. Victoria Williams firms things up for us in defence, while Jodie Brett and Kayleigh Green give us extra options in midfield and upfront.
“We’ve also brought in Ellie Brazil, Sophie Harris, and Emily Simpkins, who sustained an injury last week and will unfortunately miss the game.
“It’s going to be a long season and we’ll have injuries, but the ambition is to stay in this league, and it’s up to the whole squad to enable us to achieve that.”
Despite making the big step up, the Seagulls boss has encouraged her players to embrace the challenge and relish the prospect of facing the best teams in the country.
“This is probably the biggest step up, it’s the elite of English football and you can’t play any higher. The test is can we cope with it? We know it’s going to be tough and we’ll give it a good go.
“It will be relentless, but we want to have fun and have a good time doing it. We recognise the challenges, and I know the girls will do the best they can.”
Tickets are still available for Sunday's game against Bristol City at the Broadfield Stadium. Advance prices are £7 for adults, £6 for over-65s/under-21s, £5 for under-18s and £3 for under-10s.
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