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WHELAN EXPECTING TOUGH ENCOUNTER

20 May 2018

Geoff Penn
Aileen Whelan

Brighton & Hove Albion forward Aileen Whelan is expecting a tough test on Sunday when the Seagulls host Millwall Lionesses in the side’s final WSL2 game of the campaign at Culver Road (2pm). 

Hope Powell’s side host the South Londoners knowing that a win for their opponents would cement them third place in the division, and the Seagulls’ striker recognises that will mean a difficult afternoon for Albion. 

She said, “Millwall will come down wanting all three points - as you would expect as they try to claim third place in the league.

“They will be physical and direct, and we need to ensure we match them and play the football we know we can to prevent their attacking quality from showing.

“Last week’s result was not good enough. We were all very disappointed and we know that we never want that feeling again - so we must make sure we come away with all three points because we want to end the season on a high. 

With a second-placed finish guaranteed for Hope Powell’s side for this campaign, Whelan reflected on the achievement given the targets that were set at the start of the season and looked back on the campaign as a whole.

“At the beginning, the team set a goal to win the league because that is how competitive we all are - we knew what we were capable of if we were consistently on our game.

“Although this was the goal, coming into a new league, one higher than the club had played in during the previous season, it was always going to be a big ask to finish near the top of the table when you have such strong opposition, but we are all very pleased with how the season has gone overall.

“I think the league is improving all the time. There have been many youth internationals competing in this league, which has improved the quality and standard across many teams. 

“Doncaster Rovers Belles have shown what it takes to be the best in this league and for future seasons, teams should aim to be as consistent as they have been this season to make it a more competitive league.”

Last weekend’s 4-0 defeat to Durham put paid to the side’s title chances, with Doncaster Rovers Belles claiming the title, Whelan – who has eight goals for the season so far, reflected honestly on a tough afternoon for the team last weekend. 

“It was very disappointing and a result that we won’t forget in a hurry. We were our own worst enemy and our quality both on and off the ball just wasn’t good enough. 

“Durham capitalised on this and showed us how to play for 90 minutes and take your chances. We have spent the week correcting this in the lead up to the game, as Millwall are going to be just as tough as Durham were last weekend.”


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