September 5, 2020 by Stephen L Wright
With players such as Rose Lavelle, Rachel Daly and Pernille Harder being brought into the league, the ante on the field has well and truly been upped.
Promoted Aston Villa bring the Derby back to the city.
Blues open the season with a trip to Brighton. Their last visit was in November where, with a squad decimated by injury, Academy players Lily Simkin and Freya Gregory were given their First Team debuts. The game ended in defeat for the visitors.
As last season came to a shuddering halt, Blues had three games in hand over Brighton and were six points behind. On experience, to that point, it was unlikely Blues would have made any progress.
Lily Simkin is now a permanent member of the First Team squad and fans are looking forward to seeing her continue to develop. Northern Ireland’s Chloe McCarron has set a record as the first top flight NI woman to play in the UK. Scotland captain Rachel Corsie (on loan until the Spring), fellow Scot Christie Murray and returner Georgia Brougham, with a second season loan, complete the list of new players.
In a recent interview with The Athletic, new boss Carla Ward, who led Sheffield Utd to within a match ticket’s width of promotion to the WSL, described the current situation as “a rebuild” and “a new era” and has asked fans to be patient.
Potentially, Blues will have five games in two weeks, beginning on 27th with an FA Cup Quarter Final match at Brighton. Victory will mean a Semi Final match just four days later. League and Conti Cup matches complete the tally.
We all, Head Coach, players and fans, know this is going to be a tough season after relegation was knocking on the door as the last was suspended. The ‘demon’ that is the ‘Vital Third’, which regular readers will know was a constant in my posts last season, will still be at the front of fans’ minds. But I know, amongst the fans at large, that in Carla Ward and the team we trust.
Newly appointed Team Captain Murray will lead her fellow players, including new Club Captain Rebecca Holloway, into Ward’s “new era”, that will not include Kerys Harrop or Rachel Williams. ‘How will we manage without them?’ is a question I’ve often heard following the departure of other major players. But we did and we will.
It’s going to be very strange supporting from in front of a TV or other device, but I’m sure our shouts of encouragement will filter through the ether.
The match kicks off at 2pm and will be on FA Player.
Match analysis to follow. Until then…