A young fan watches the warm up Aston Villa Ladies v Durham Women FA Women's Championship football match, Boldmere St Michael's Football Club, Sutton Coldfield, UK - 14 Oct 2018 Photo: Paul Currie for The FA

FA Women’s Championship weekend preview

The 2019/2020 FA Women’s Championship campaign gets underway with five fascinating matches on Sunday afternoon.

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur both held their nerve to win promotion to the top flight last season and the latest campaign looks to be a much tougher one to call.

The curtain will raise at The Dripping Pan where Lewes take on newly-promoted Blackburn Rovers in Sunday’s early kick-off. ¬†Despite a fantastic start last season, The Rookettes came unstuck in late autumn and never regained their flying form during the remainder of the season. This weekend, Fran Alonso’s side take on a Blackburn Rovers outfit who could spring more than a few surprises this season after being ultra-consistent in the third tier in recent seasons.

The new arrivals at Lewes have reached double figures and while the summer signings will freshen things up, it will be interesting to see whether they can see off a settled Blackburn Rovers side.

Crystal Palace finished second-bottom in the table last season and they will be keen to get early points on the board when they take on Coventry United at Hayes Lane. Both clubs will be keen to avoid a relegation battle this season and this fixture could prove important in building early momentum.

Palace will be much-changed with manager Dean Davenport having been very active in the transfer market while visitors Coventry United have recruited one or two players with second tier experience which should improve last season’s promotion-winning squad.

One of the games of the day comes in The Midlands as Leicester City take on Durham. The home side were one of The Wildcats’ bogey sides last season and they will not make it easy for them in their latest meeting. With Durham boss Lee Sanders’ tactics so often perfectly implemented to gain points from difficult games, Leicester City proved something of a stumbling block last season and he will be keen to get one over on Foxes boss Jonathan Morgan. Both managers thrive with fielding young players and this game looks to be one of the most difficult to call this weekend.

The Hive sees a London derby as London Bees take on new club London City Lionesses. The Bees have been a club with potential in recent seasons but it has not necessarily been fulfilled. New manager Lee Burch takes charge of the club for the first time on Sunday and he could be the right man to pull everyone together following a bumpy period. Visitors London City Lionesses are rumoured to have received investment over the summer but the club have largely been working behind closed doors and potential fans have been left in the dark.

Manager Burch has brought a good mix of youth and experience to London Bees since his appointment and they should provide strong opposition for whatever London City Lionesses side is fielded at The Hive.

The final game of the weekend comes at Boldmere St Michaels as promotion favourites Aston Villa take on a Sheffield United side who clicked in the final few months of last season. Villa boss Gemma Davies has had an excellent summer in the transfer market in which she has made some very shrewd signings. Those new additions, combined with a talented young squad should see the club challenging for the title. Sunday’s opponents Sheffield United ended last season in fine form and they will make it very difficult for Villa.

You can read all of our FA Women’s Championship season previews in issue 13 of FA Women’s Super League Full-Time magazine. To order a copy, please send a ¬£4 PayPal payment to fawslfulltime@gmail.com.

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