Lewes FC interim manager Craig Gill is hoping to see some energy return to his players after two games in a week when they rock up at Sheffield United in the Women’s Championship this Sunday.
The Rooks beat Coventry United 4-1 last weekend, only to then suffer a 3-1 Conti Cup defeat to Bristol City in midweek.
Gill made plenty of squad changes for the trip to Bristol but now has all his troops back together for the journey north.
And the interim boss is pleased with what he’s seen heading into the weekend.
“It’s been a good week this week,” says Gill. “We’ve had two groups: one recovering after the Coventry United game last Sunday, and one preparing for the match against Bristol City on the Wednesday.
“We took a squad to that game and were able to introduce three Development Squad players for their debuts as well, which was really encouraging.
“It was a good performance in parts and we played some good football. We played through the opposition and it was unfortunate to give away the goals that we did.”
Lots of energy
Lewes head into the weekend having won three of the last five league matches. Victory at the Technique Stadium could see the Rooks climb as high as fourth in the table.
Discussing the game ahead, Gill adds: “We’ve since come back in and had the full squad together again – it was a really good session, with lots of energy around the group.
“I’ve seen some good quality in there as well, which all bodes well for what will be a difficult tie against Sheffield United on Sunday.”
Focus on Sheffield United
Neil Redfearn’s Blades sit ninth in the Championship and are winless from their last five league games. However, a 2-1 Conti Cup triumph over Aston Villa in midweek could well see their spirits raised for this weekend’s encounter.
“They’ve shown a real willingness and togetherness through this tough run because we’ve had injuries, illnesses, we’ve had to make changes every game and we don’t have big numbers, but they’ve shown real determination and a will to get over the line,” says Redfearn, who will welcome a number of first-team players back into the fold for Sunday.
“They’ve shown in moments in every game where we’ve been really good and as this team sticks together and starts to grow I think we’ll get better and better.”
Blades’ strong defensive unit
While United’s league form may have dipped of late, defensively they remain a solid outfit. In fact, they come into this clash having conceded just once in their last three Championship outings.
“Newsh (Charlotte Newsham) has been a great signing,” says Redfearn. “She’s played left-back, centre-back, does it without a fuss, Georgia (Robert) has been another great signing too.
“Tara (Bourne) looks a player now, she’s a proper player. She gets tight, competes, plays passes, all the good stuff from Man United is being enhanced by her development on the pitch with us.
“Thea (Alethea Paul) has been a big bonus since coming back from injury. We’ve not really had her while I’ve been here, what a great little player, good footballer, a competitor, can hold her ground, she’s thorough and she’s a great little player, it’s like having a new player.”
Sheffield United vs Lewes kicks off at noon on Sunday.