Birmingham City boss Carla Ward says that her side must be disciplined against Manchester City on Sunday.
The Blues take on a Manchester City side who could go top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table with a win, with long-time leaders Chelsea playing in the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals this weekend.
Speaking ahead of the fixture in her pre-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Ward said that she knows that the trip to The Academy Stadium will provide another tough test for her side.
“Man City are exceptional,” she said. “I think them and Chelsea have been absolutely relentless this season.
“When Gareth Taylor took over, there were question marks over him which I didn’t understand. I said it straight away, when a new manager comes in to replace someone who had been there for so long that it would be tough but he has done an unbelievable job since.
“They look powerful and frightening, they have got players who can give them a lot.
“We can expect to play a lot of the game without the ball so we have to make sure we stay disciplined, focused and try and frustrate them as long as possible.”
A 96th-minute equaliser from Veatriki Sarri earned the Blues a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Wednesday night and they now sit three points clear of bottom side Bristol City with two games to go.
The Robins have two massive games remaining against Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion while they have a far inferior goal difference than Ward’s side. The Blues boss commented on how relieved she was following the late equaliser on Wednesday evening.
She said “The last 10 months have been tough and we have had so much stuff thrown in our way but the girls have dug in and kept focused and it’s an absolute credit to them that they went out there the other night to get that point that we feel has secured our WSL survival.
“I don’t think there’s been anything that hasn’t been thrown at us this season.
“By the end of the season, we have played only eight home games, 13 away from home and one less than everybody else which was the three points lost against Tottenham.
“Nobody would have given us a chance at the start of the season but here we are. I was emotional after the game on Wednesday because the players have been to hell and back this season but they deserve this.”
Discussing her squad selection, Ward said that she may use the Manchester City game to rotate her team and give some fresh legs a run-out.
She added “I think we’ll use some fresh legs this weekend, we have a very small squad this season and lots of these players have played every minute of every game this season.
“Veatriki (Sarri) will be assessed, we have to monitor her closely at the moment because she is obviously coming back from an injury. She got through 30 minutes the other night and we’ll access her again tomorrow. She is nearing full fitness but ultimately, what we want to do is not push her too soon.
“Ruesha (Littlejohn) has been struggling with her Achilles and the likelihood is that we’ll rest her for the Man City game, give her a few extra days to recover and we should have her back on the final day against Tottenham.”
Birmingham City’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture at Manchester City is scheduled to kick-off at 3pm on Sunday afternoon and will be available for fans to watch live on the BBC Red Button and on the FA Player.