Going into the Christmas break, most clubs in the FA Women’s Championship have reached the halfway point in their respective seasons.
Leicester City are the current FA Women’s Championship leaders with 26 points collected from their 11 games while Durham sit one point behind. Huge efforts are needed by third-placed club Liverpool and Sheffield United in fourth to maintain their respective promotion bids in 2021.
With the season now in a break, FA Women’s Super League Full-Time have reviewed the action and we have selected five players who we believe are in with a good chance of the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Year award given their performances in the first half of the season.
Natasha Flint (Leicester City)
When forward Natasha Flint opted to leave Blackburn Rovers and join full-time club Leicester City in the summer, you always thought that she would go on to be a success at Farley Way. That is very much how it has turned out. Flint is the only FA Women’s Championship player to have hit double figures so far this season with her goal tally currently standing at 10. Nine of those goals have come from open play while four have been the first goal scored in matches. Those statistics show just what an asset she is to Jonathan Morgan’s side.
Remi Allen (Leicester City)
There are many jewels in the Leicester City crown and we could have potentially included Paige Bailey-Gayle or Lachante Paul in our selections but we have instead gone for Remi Allen, a player who has been a real driving force behind The Foxes’ promotion push from midfield. Allen has almost acted as the glue sticking this excellent Leicester City side together, her top flight experience has been vital to the cause and she continues to perform like a player who is playing her game below her ability level. Allen is the top-scoring midfielder in the Leicester City side with five goals and it would be a tragedy if she is not back playing Barclays FA Women’s Super League football again next season.
Beth Hepple (Durham)
Hepple’s eight goals for Durham, which include a few stunning efforts from range, have helped The Wildcats achieve maximum potential this season and challenge at the very top of the FA Women’s Championship. Lee Sanders’ side were probably cautiously ranked behind Leicester City, Liverpool and Sheffield United in terms of pre-season promotion favouritism but players such as Hepple have performed well in a Durham shirt this season to keep The Wildcats bang in form. The attacker has scored eight goals for Durham in the league, including strikes in draws with promotion rivals Liverpool and Leicester City. The goals have dried up a little of late but there is no doubting the fact that the player will provide a major contribution during the second half of the season for her club.
Rachel Furness (Liverpool)
Another example of a player who should arguably be playing in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League rather than the FA Women’s Championship is Liverpool’s Rachel Furness. The Northern Ireland international midfielder has starred for The Reds this season, netting four goals in the club’s first three matches. Furness is not just known for her goals, her menacing dashes through the central areas have caused panic for opposition defenders and she links the attacking unit well, bringing more flow to moves involving the likes of Rinsola Babajide, Mel Lawley and Amalie Thestrup. If Liverpool are to resurrect their title bid in early 2021, the form of Furness will be key to the club grinding out results.
Alex Brooks (Blackburn Rovers)
It is no coincidence that Blackburn Rovers’ excellent recent form mirrors the personal superb performances of goalkeeper Alex Brooks. The 25-year-old has been a real find for Rovers boss Gemma Donnelly with the player having kept five clean sheets in seven FA Women’s Championship matches in a league which is not really known for shutouts. The arrival of Brooks into the Rovers team has brought confidence and defensive stability to the side. Rovers have long-term plans for Barclays FA Women’s Super League football and Brooks has to play an instrumental role in that and must become part of the fixtures and fittings at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium in future years.
The FA Women’s Championship season resumes on Sunday 10 January 2021 with a full weekend fixture list.