Bristol City’s stand-in manager Matt Beard has labelled this Sunday’s relegation clash against Birmingham City as ‘huge’ but remains confident that the result will not define his side’s hopes to stay up.
Bristol City are just one point and one place above the Barclays FA Women’s Super League’s relegation zone with five games left to play.
In the club’s pre-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Beard said “It’s going to be a tough afternoon and there’s a lot of pressure on both teams.
“Obviously, we want to win the game because it will lift us up the table but if we draw or lose there’s still plenty of points to play for and we’re confident with the way that we’re playing at the moment.”
In the thick of this season’s relegation battle, just two points separate both sides with ninth-placed Birmingham City being two places above The Robins. Acknowledging that a win could take Bristol City up to ninth, Beard said “Come Sunday afternoon, we could be in a really good position in the league table if results go our way and we put a performance in and get the win.
“We’ve got to make sure that we’re taking our chances or making the right decisions in the final third and I think that could be the difference of winning or losing the game for both teams.”
Birmingham City’s three-match losing streak was broken in dramatic fashion last week after Ruby Mace scored an equaliser with the last kick of the game against West Ham United in a 2-2 draw at The Chigwell Construction Stadium. Beard praised Carla Ward’s side for their never-say-die attitude and recognised that Sunday’s game will be a challenge.
“They’re a tough opponent because they’re organised, they’re aggressive, and they can score goals,” Beard said. “It’s a different test for us and I’m looking forward to seeing how we deal with that.
“We’re excited for the challenge and the girls have really embraced it so I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
With the bottom of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table looking tighter than ever, a win for either side could prove significant in this season’s fight for survival.
“I think the relegation battle will go into the last day of the season,” admitted Beard. “I’m just hoping that we get enough points on the board from the games we have left to make sure we’re not part of that, that’s our goal.
“I’m desperate for the players to stay up, since I’ve come in they’ve been unbelievable.”
Birmingham City host Bristol City at the SportNation.bet Stadium in Solihull at 4pm on Sunday afternoon and the match will be available for fans to stream live on the FA Player.