Carla Ward has hailed the efforts of her depleted squad on the progress that they’ve made in the first half of the WSL season. However, she is well aware the hard work is not over yet.
Carla Ward’s transformation of this Birmingham side has been nothing short of impressive. Tomorrow, they face one of their biggest tests since her arrival, against title hopefuls Arsenal.
“I won’t dress it up, the month of December’s a tough one,” the manager said. “We knew going into December that we had to try and concentrate on performances rather than points.
“Might we get to the end of December without a point? Potentially. But there’s a bigger picture for me.”
Indeed, the Blues have some tough fixtures ahead, but their strong start to the season will act as a safety net if results don’t go their way.
An Appetite for More
The midlands outfit enter the fixture sitting sixth in the league table with nine points, a comfortable six places above the relegation spot. Although nine pints is typically regarded as the safety number in the WSL, Ward still has an appetite for more.
“I had a points target in my head when I came in, but that’s definitely changed now,” she admitted. “I certainly want a couple of more wins, that’s for sure.”
The clash against Arsenal marks the first weekend fans are able to be welcomed back under controlled measures imposed by the new tier system.
Unlike the Gunners, who find themselves in Tier 2, Birmingham is located in Tier 3, meaning fans are unable to attend home games at Damson Park. Ward noted the huge difference fans can make.
“We want the fans back as soon as possible. There’s an excitement growing between the players and staff about trying to get the fans back because it’s important for us.”
Claudia Walker’s recent goalscoring form will certainly inspire hope for players and fans alike leading into tomorrow’s fixture. The striker has scored five goals this season, including the winner during the recent derby against Aston Villa.
“She’s doing double sessions every day,” Ward revealed. “She’s constantly staying behind, working on her finishing.”
The former Sheffield United boss is looking to the future with excitement. Many key players are set to return from injury in January, including the likes of Sarah Mayling and Lily Simkin.
“I’ve got a group that epitomises what I’m about. I think we’ve really been able to build.”
With key defender Rachel Corsie set to finish her loan spell from Utah Royals in February, Ward is left with decisions to make in the January window as she looks to build her team.