Lewes travel to The Farley Way Stadium (Quorn nr Loughborough) on Sunday with both sides keen to return to winning ways in the FA Women’s Championship.
December was a horrible month for the Foxes, with four consecutive defeats; 0-4 v Charlton and 2-1 away to London Bees in the league, 0-6 v Birmingham and 3-1 away to Sheffield United in the Conti Cup.
Lewes had a similarly poor month, the 0-2 away win v Millwall in the Conti Cup sandwiched between two two-nil home defeats against pace-setters Manchester United and Charlton Athletic.
Since then Fran Alonso has taken over as first team manager at Lewes. Despite only a handful of sessions, the effect Fran and his coaching staff have had on the players is tangible.
Skipper Katie McIntyre commented: ‘We’ve had some really good sessions so far, training has been really positive.The players can’t wait to get back on the pitch.’
‘We are buzzing to get playing again’ Vicky Carlton confirmed. ‘To get everyone up to the level (the manager) wants will take time, but we will be playing some good football.’
Rooks ‘keeper Faye Baker agrees. ‘I really cannot wait for this half of the season. Training has been intense but we’re having fun, too. We know we have a lot to do to improve but everyone is putting in a massive shift.’
Alonso has been meticulous in his preparations, including revisiting the match at the Pan earlier this season, where City took an early two goal lead only for Lewes to hit back with four of their own. Match report.
‘Training is good. The application of the girls is excellent. I’m pleased with the staff and the effort. It’s not easy, we’ve come in and changed some things and this will take time’ Fran told us.
‘We have studied the previous game against Leicester and watched some of their matches. The coaching staff have done analysis of their games. We are looking forward to the game, we want to enjoy the game. It is a good opportunity to see really where the girls are.’
‘Leicester are a good team, dangerous up front, very powerful, very fast, so let’s see where we are at. We can see that the girls are desperate to play. At the moment everyone is happy but let’s see; when we start to make selections some players may be less happy. What they do when they are a little bit less happy will make the difference.’
A selection headache for Alonso and his team then?
‘Some of the girls are are making things very difficult for us, which is their job. It’s giving me nightmares, but these are good nightmares to have!’
Kick-off is at 2pm Sunday 6th January at Quorn FC, The Clubhouse, Farley Way, Quorn, Loughborough LE12 8RB