Ladies preview: Momentum for top-of-the-table clash

Karen Carney and Gilly Flaherty are confident ahead of our trip to Manchester City Women on Saturday after the Blues replaced City at the top of the WSL1 standings in midweek.

Our 2-0 victory over Yeovil, coupled with Nick Cushing’s side losing at Birmingham City by the same scoreline, moved us one point clear of City ahead of a game you can see live on BT Sport at 12.30pm.

Chelsea Ladies made 10 changes to the starting line-up which saw off Doncaster in the Women’s FA Cup at the weekend and Carney (pictured above) believes that, along with the manner of our hard-fought victory in the South-West, is cause for optimism.

‘We always had the belief and confidence, it was just about perseverance,’ she said. ‘We’ve got players who can come on to give us a boost and change the dynamic.

‘We’ve done really well recently; we’re confident and a lot of the squad have played plenty of minutes and are pushing on. We’re in a good place and we’re excited for Saturday.

‘We like big games and we’ve hit really good form. But it’s just another game – play it, try your best and we’ll see what happens.’

For Flaherty (pictured right), the Yeovil game was her first match action in over a month due to injury, and she feels the momentum is with us ahead of Saturday after we replaced City atop the standings.

‘We’ve managed to get to the top, but there’s still a long way to go – it’s just nice to have that momentum and motivation,’ she said.

‘We’ve got a massive game on Saturday and it’s pleasing to know we’re top of the league.

‘We knew Saturday’s game is a must-win, regardless of what happened in the midweek fixtures, and we set out to win every game. So whether we were second or top going into Saturday, we would have gone about it and prepared in the same way.

‘We need to keep calm, stick to the game-plan and fingers crossed we get the three points and stay top.’

The centre-back also pointed to the form of Fran Kirby as a huge plus, after the England international came off the bench against Yeovil to score her 15th goal of the season – five of which have been netted this month.

‘Fran came on and within minutes we were 1-0 up, so it was a fantastic substitution,’ she said. ‘She’s top class. She’s in great form, that’s her 15th of the season so she’s flying, and hopefully she can do the same again on Saturday.’