Brighton & Hove Albion women’s first-team manager Hope Powell highlighted the magnitude of Wednesday night’s game against Yeovil Town, and feels it will set a precedent for the remainder of the season.
Albion will move 12 points clear of their hosts with a win over the Glovers, and Powell says her players will need to cope with the ‘favourites’ tag heading into the match.
She said, “With the position they’re in and the position we’re in, it’s a big game.
“If they win, it keeps them in the fight, whereas a win for us pulls us further ahead and gives us an even better chance of staying in the league.
“It’s undoubtedly a very big game and one that could define our season.
“That [favourites tag] in itself either works for you or against you, but when you go in as the underdogs, there’s a bit less pressure.
“Against Birmingham, I don’t think the expectation was for us to win the game. It means we will have to raise our game on this occasion.
“When you are expected to win, it brings different challenges and a different mindset, so we have to look beyond that and look to put in a similar performance to the Birmingham game.”
Yeovil have recorded only one win so far so this season, but Powell is refusing to underestimate the challenge from the Somerset side.
“They’re a resilient and dogged side, and having watched their previous games, they have this never-say-die attitude and we know that they’re going to fight until the very end.
“It’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be physical. It’s going to be relentless because they do not stop.
“They’ve scored in most of their matches against teams that you’d may not expect them to either. We have to be prepared for that and be on top of our game even more so, because we’re expected to win it.”
Powell once again praised the work rate of her players following an improved run of form at the start of 2019, and used the Birmingham victory as an example of their character.
“The fact that we beat a team of their calibre and one that’s longstanding in the WSL with international players, says something about the players we have here.
“They showed determination, commitment and hard work. Effort has got us to where we are and the players are starting to implement the things we’re asking them to do.
“It’s been challenging, but if we can take that into the Yeovil game then we’ll have a really good chance.”