Friday 12 January 2018

PREVIEW: BLUES LADIES V BRISTOL CITY

Marc Skinner says Blues Ladies cannot beat themselves up too much about their woes in front of goal.

Much has understandably been made of the team’s goals scored to chances created ratio.

And the girls will seek to address that on Sunday when they return to home action in WSL 1 against Bristol City Women at Solihull Moors (2pm).

The accent this week in training has naturally been on polishing finishing techniques.

But it would be wrong to let it become the overbearing concern, says the Blues Manager.

“The issue, we know, is not scoring enough to win games,” he says. “But we are in a good place performance-wise.

“Yes, we have been focusing on our finishing and attacking this week.

“But the danger is you can go too far and then, because you are making it such a big issue, it has the reverse effect.

“I’ve flipped it round and said: ‘OK, let’s keep a clean sheet which means we need to score one’.

“We have to look at our emotional control. We have to keep playing the way we can, keep to the game plan.

“A little bit of ego has got in the way in that we have been forcing things in games when we should be letting it come naturally.

“I am sure that it will fall into place at some point, as long as we take these things on board.”

Ellen White’s injury absence has been acutely felt by Skinner and the team.

She has an outside chance of being involved on Sunday, Skinner reveals.

And Blues have an understanding with England to handle White carefully after her selection for a Lionesses training camp in La Manga, Spain, starting next week until 24 January.

“Ellen has returned to training but did come in early on Thursday when she felt a bit of a quad niggle,” reports Skinner.

“We are hoping that she will be fit to be in the squad on Sunday, maybe on the bench.

“The plan is still to make sure she is right to return at Yeovil Town, but we will see about this weekend.

“Mo Marley (England Interim Coach) and I have an understanding over Ellen, it will be viewed as a ‘return to play’ training week. She will be assessed and hold off on things if need be.”

Blues loaned Sophie Baggaley to Bristol at the campaign’s start but she won’t be facing them in goal at Solihull Moors.

Skinner reveals: “I’ve got a gentleman’s agreement with Willie Kirk (Bristol Manager) that she wouldn’t play against us, and I have no reason to believe that he isn’t anything but a man of his word.”

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