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Powell Takes Positives From Winter Break

By Kieran Cleeves • 05 January 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion's women's first-team manager Hope Powell highlighted the pros and cons of having a winter break, but insists her team have taken positives from the festive period, as they prepare for Sunday’s return to action in the FA Women’s Super League 2.

The Seagulls end a four-week break from action against Tottenham Hotspur at the Cheshunt Stadium on Sunday, kick-off 2pm - and Powell believes having a winter interval would also benefit the men’s game.

She said, “The rest was quite nice - certainly with the injuries that we’ve had, it’s helped us. A couple of players have been able to get back fit during that period.

“The downside is that you don't have the momentum anymore. You build it up before Christmas and then it’s broken.

“If you look at the schedule that the men have had - that’s really tough. I’m very much an advocate of the winter break.

“It gave us an opportunity to do some testing and have a bit of a pre-season. We were able to adjust some things and focus on different elements - so it was very useful.”

Powell’s team occupy fourth position in the FA WSL2, just four points behind leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles with a game in hand, and the former England Lionesses manager praised Albion’s players for their hard work and commitment.

“They’ve got a really good work ethic. There are still some things to work on, but we’ve been doing that since I first had a good assessment and look at the players.

“We’re trying to up the fitness levels, which is key. The squad is quite light, so we have to try and make the players a little more robust.

“Their application to the cause - doing well in the league, first and foremost - has been spot on. We’re now looking at tier one and they want to be a part of that, so they’re working really hard.”

Despite having already beaten Spurs 4-1 in the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup this season, Powell believes Albion’s north London opponents will be keen to return the favour in the league.

“We’re expecting a very tough game, it’s going to be really hard for us and it’s on a grass surface, whereas we normally play on 3G.

“We’ve beaten them, they’ve beaten us [in the FA Cup during the FAWSL Spring Series], so the game is going to be a tough battle - but that’s what we want.

“We want to test ourselves and see how we cope against other teams, no matter what league we’re in.”

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