Good afternoon everyone and a warm welcome to Marc Skinner, his players and staff and all our supporters.
Manchester United at home is always a standout fixture and we’re really looking forward to what we know will be a tough challenge today. It’s been a long three weeks since our last game against Reading when we lost 2-0. I didn’t think we played badly in that game, but we just lacked that cutting edge in front of goal, that was the difference. It was a match that again demonstrated how tight the league is this season. If those fine margins fall in your favour it can make the difference between winning and losing.
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We had a lot of players away with their countries during the break, and it was great to see Meg Walsh picked by Ireland for the first time, a reward for her consistent performances during the last couple of years. We also had a friendly against Charlton last Sunday which was important for those players who didn’t go away, to get minutes in their legs as we prepare for a busy week before the Christmas break, with an important Conti Cup game at West Ham on Wednesday followed by next Sunday’s WSL trip to Arsenal.
Three tough fixtures and it would be a great boost for everyone if we could go into 2022 in third place and having progressed to the knockout stages of the Conti Cup. That’s the challenge, and it will need everyone in the squad ready to play their part. I’m sure they will be because we have a hardworking squad who are always striving to improve both personally and for the good of the team.
Today’s game is our designated fixture in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign. It’s a reminder that we’re not all the same and that everyone in our society has the right to be who they are, to respect others and be accepted by all.
That is certainly the view in our squad. We welcome everyone, regardless of their background, and it’s always a special moment in our season when we get to wear the Rainbow Laces shirts. It’s essential that we continue to make the women’s game open for everyone, regardless of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity or any other characteristic, and I am very proud to be part of a club that does so much to promote inclusivity.
As this is our last home game of 2021, I’d like to thank everyone for their support in what has been another challenging year for everyone. It’s been brilliant to have supporters back here at Crawley and I know you will get behind the team once again today.
On behalf of everyone at the club, I wish you and your families a Happy Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing you again in 2022.
Good luck to us!