Aston Villa: Carla Ward stresses importance of Everton clash

Aston Villa manager Carla Ward looks during a match
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward looks on prior to the Women's Super League match vs Chelsea on April 02, 2023 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Carla Ward looked ahead to the upcoming clash between Aston Villa and Everton at Walton Hall Park this weekend. Amidst further injury setbacks, she believes her team are determined to turn things around in the Women’s Super League.

Both sides have had ongoing injury struggles from the beginning of the season. Although Villa have found themselves higher up the WSL table in eighth, Everton are certainly not a team to be underestimated. They are sat at tenth in the league with only two points separating them from the claret and blue.

In the Toffees’ game against Chelsea last weekend, although the result meant they fell short of continuing their journey in the FA Cup, they had much to be proud of against the league leaders.

Injury updates

Going into what has proved to be a hard battle so far this season against Brian Sørensen’s Everton, Ward is forced to leave out key Villa players.

Daphne van Domselaar — a hot topic this week with transfer rumours circulating — will remain on the sidelines for another match-day.

Van Domselaar remains out with the same hip injury that kept her absent for the Arsenal clash that ended Villa’s Continental Cup run. Her injury’s longevity is yet to be clarified but the No.1 will be ‘seeing a specialist today’ to discover more, Ward confirmed.

Another key player missing will be powerful winger Kirsty Hanson following a calf injury. Lucy Staniforth and Lucy Parker both also remain out with ankle injuries. Ward revealed further that Villa have ‘a couple of doubts’ but will be ‘assessing them today’.

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Importance of the game ahead

Ultimately, with the West Midlands side’s recent losses against Arsenal and Liverpool, this game presents itself as an opportunity to crawl back some significant points.

The two sides have already met twice across all competitions this season and Aston Villa are yet to take the victory. However, this is the first time Villa will meet Everton away. If last season is anything to go by, they may be within a chance of taking the win this time.

Last season, the two sides similarly met three times during the season. Out of the three fixtures, it was in their last time of playing them that Villa stole the win.

“I think we were in a good place before that Liverpool game and that Liverpool and Arsenal first half in particular hurt us, so we need to go there and get points back,” Ward said ahead of the clash. “If we do, then we are still in touching distance of that top six. But if we don’t, then obviously, we’ll be looking down the barrel. So we’ve got to make sure that we try and pick up points.”

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