Lewes FC interim manager Craig Gill has expressed his delight at the enthusiasm in which the Rooks players have taken to training since his arrival, and is hoping to shake up the game plan against Liverpool this weekend.
Gill oversaw a 2-0 win against Charlton last weekend, a result that saw Lewes move to sixth in the Women’s Championship table.
Sunday sees Lewes head to Liverpool for a crunch game that could fire the Rooks as high as second by the end of the weekend.
And Gill has taken nothing but positives from a full week of working with the squad.
“We’ve got on very well,” says the boss. “I’m really pleased with he players’ application and enthusiasm, and discipline in looking at the different concepts we’ve introduced.
“We’re looking to play on the front foot and have different ways of playing both in possession and out of possession.
“We’ve built those training regimes up to take it into our game model in preparation for Sunday’s game against Liverpool.”
Something different at Liverpool
Lewes are unbeaten in two league games and saw off Charlton thanks to goals from Paula Howells and Amelia Hazard in the first half at the Dripping Pan.
And Gill is pleased the squad immediately took to the challenge he set them against the Addicks.
“Going into the Charlton game we asked the players to be positive in their approach,” he says.
“We got some energy and discipline, and showed our qualities both with the ball and without the ball. I think they did that exceptionally well against a very, very strong Charlton side.
“To get a positive result with the 2-0 win that we did, we now as for more of the same against Liverpool. Our game plan will be slightly different because of the way Liverpool set up, we’ve also introduced new set pieces as well, so we’ve had to work on those thought the week.
“All in all I’m very much looking forward to the trip to Liverpool, which will obviously be very difficult against a talented and well-organised team. We’re very much looking forward to a positive result.”
Focus on Liverpool
Liverpool come into this clash having not played since beating Aston Villa 5-4 on penalties in the Conti Cup back in mid-October. The Reds are unbeaten in their last five league games and edged Lewes 2-0 when these sides last met in April.
“We have had a number of players away on international duty so hopefully all of the players will be fine ahead of Sunday’s game against Lewes FC,” says Liverpool manager Matt Beard.
“We are well prepared because we have done a lot of repetitive work in training. We have done a lot of stuff where we tweak it every game but we’ve got a structure and a foundation to play from, and we adapt as we go.”
On the Rooks, Beard adds: “The challenge against Lewes FC is a tough one. They have beaten Charlton Athletic and London City Lionesses and had a close game with Bristol City. They have changed their manager as well, which leads to a bit of an unknown to a certain extent.
“Lewes FC are a good organisation and are a good club with some good players, especially at the top end of the pitch. In Rebecca McKenna, she played for Northern Ireland against England and was excellent on Saturday night up against Lauren Hemp. That’s not easy and I thought she did really well.
“They have players who can cause you problems and they are in and around the top of the table again. Every year as a team they get better and they progress, but listen, and I’ve said this before, we are in a good place. On the pitch and off the pitch we are in a fantastic place – as long as we concentrate on ourselves and keep working hard, which is what I demand from them.”
One to watch
Having scored four goals in her last three matches, Ireland international Leanne Kiernan is certainly one to watch out for in the Reds XI this weekend.
On the striker, Beard says: “Our second assistant manager Paul McHugh has been doing a lot of work with Leanne on her finishing on a daily basis in training. We saw the rewards of that against Coventry United and again against Aston Villa.
“She had to leave the field unfortunately but thankfully it wasn’t serious. It was just a muscle spasm by her ribs and a couple of days after that she was fine.
“I read one of her interviews while she was on international duty and you could see that she is happy, which I think is like everything in life. If you are happy where you are and what you doing then you are going to do well.”