Brighton & Hove Albion manager Hope Powell is anticipating a really tough fixture against Everton at The People’s Pension Stadium on Sunday.
Albion were the first team to take points from The Blue Girls this season when they battled to a 2-2 draw on Merseyside in October.
Everton have gone on to flirt with the European qualification positions before spending recent weeks in fifth place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table. Willie Kirk’s side have been some way ahead of Albion for most of the season but The Seagulls’ recent good run means that they could move to within a point of Everton on Sunday.
Speaking in Brighton & Hove Albion’s pre-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, manager Powell said that her side will need to be at their very best to get a result against Everton on Sunday.
“We absolutely recognise that it is going to be a tough contest,” said Powell. “It was when we went up there.
“I think we played incredibly well going in-front then going behind and then obviously getting a draw and I think that Everton will want to pull back on that, they will probably feel that they underperformed. I’d like to give us credit and say that we performed on that day quite well.
“We just know that going into this game, we are again going to have to be at our very best to compete and ensure that we get something out of the game.”
Early in the season, Everton impressed with their quick and intricate attacking play with the likes of Claire Emslie, Hayley Raso and Valerie Gauvin all showing their quality. The Blue Girls suffered a dip in form during winter with injuries mounting before showing recent improvement. Albion boss Powell highlighted the increased quality in the Everton side since the reverse fixture at Walton Hall Park.
“For sure, we know that they have got some talent,” said Powell. “I think that they have added to that with their signings in the January window.
“We all know about Jill Scott, Lehmann has come in from West Ham. They have certainly strengthened their midfield areas, they’ve moved players around a bit, they can play with pace on the wing.”
Powell and her side went back to basics after their 3-0 defeat at Bristol City in January and they have since recorded a maximum points return. The Albion boss paid tribute to her team and she says that they want to keep their run going as long as possible.
She said “It has been great. It was a real low against Bristol, we didn’t perform.
“Some really honest conversations took place, we have galvanised meetings, gone back to basics and the girls have been fantastic, they wanted to right that wrong at Bristol.
“Obviously, it started at Chelsea and we have just run with it since then. We realise that we are in a good vein of form and our job is that we want to keep on performing, we want to keep competing with those teams not only in and around us, but those teams above us.
“Sunday provides another real good challenge for us to just again be the best that we can be.”
Brighton & Hove Albion’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against Everton is scheduled to kick-off at 12.30pm on Sunday afternoon and will be available for fans to stream live on the FA Player.