BIRMINGHAM City Ladies have not been in action since their 1-0 victory at Notts County in mid-July, but captain Karen Carney has plenty to talk about in her latest column, including savouring a superb victory for England Women against Sweden in which Carney scored twice.
“AHEAD of our crucial World Cup 2015 qualifier against Wales next month (where a point will clinch qualification for the World Cup in Canada) we played Sweden in a friendly at Hartlepool on Sunday and it was brilliant to beat them 4-0.
“They are ranked above us (fifth and eighth respectively) and beat us 4-1 the last time we played them last year, so it was fantastic to see how far the team have come since then to get a result like this.
“It was our best performance since Mark Sampson took over as manager in December last year and everything went to plan really. Training was good, the performance from every player was superb and on a personal level it was great to score twice.
“The squad is looking really strong now. Jodie Taylor and Fran Kirby were brilliant on their debuts and to see attackers of the ability of Toni Duggan and Eniola Aluko coming off the bench after an hour against tiring opposition is pretty frightening really.
“There are always things to work on and we have work to do against Wales in Cardiff but things are looking very good. It was also fantastic to see Fara Williams set a new record of 130 appearances for an England player, breaking Rachel Yankey’s record. To have two women players make this many appearances for their country is something to be very proud of.”
Chance to monitor rivals
“BECAUSE Blues Ladies have so many players away on differing England duties at the moment, we have seen recent matches postponed, but this does give me the rare chance to have a look at how some of our rivals are doing, and there’s a key match on Saturday between Liverpool and Chelsea, who are both trying to catch us at the top of Women’s Super League 1.
“I will keep a keen eye on this and the other games this weekend because it makes a change to be able to. All things considered I think a draw would be the best result for us, but whatever happens my focus will turn straight back to ourselves afterwards, because we’ve got things in our own hands.
“Once we return to action then we cannot afford to be worrying about other teams, because that’s when you take your eye off the ball and it never helps your own situation.
“Blues have five players with England at the U20 Women’s World Cup in Canada and they played their first match on Wednesday. If they reach the semi-finals our next match against Chelsea (away, August 24) will be postponed, so we’ll have to see what happens.
“It’ll be great to return to Super League action but I want the Birmingham girls to succeed of course, so we’ll just have to see how things pan out.”
Success against Notts County
“SINCE my last column Blues Ladies have had one game, a 1-0 victory at Notts County in mid-July. It wasn’t our most fluent performance but we did what we have become accustomed to, which is defend well, not make silly mistakes and grind results out when we have to.
“Jo Potter scored direct from a corner to win us the game and we were very grateful for that goal. Our victory against Bristol Academy the previous midweek had taken a lot out of the team and our quality on the ball was not quite there against Notts County, but we did what good teams do and got the victory and that says a lot about us.”
Good luck to the men
“OF COURSE the Blues men’s team kick-off their Championship season this weekend and the girls would like to wish them all the best. Their captain Paul Robinson has been to see us play this season and he and others are always wishing us good luck on Twitter, so it’s nice for us to do the same.
“I think (manager) Lee Clark has done the right thing this summer in getting his new signings in early and also not relying on loans. No disrespect to loan players, but as a general rule I do believe players contracted to the club will give that little bit more and it can make all the difference.
“The men’s team have not had it easy in recent years and it’ll be challenging again this season, but I’m hopeful and confident that Blues fans won’t be going through the type of drama which they had to at Bolton during that last game of last season!”